State lawmakers give themselves hefty holiday present

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State Capitol

ALBANY – State legislators played Santa Claus for themselves on Thursday by approving a $32,000-a-year pay raise.

Effective in the new year, salaries for Assembly members and senators will rise from the current $110,000 to $142,000 annually.

The Senate voted 33 to 24 in favor of the huge raise. Hudson Valley senators who voted in favor of the raise included Democrats Pete Harckham of Westchester County, Michelle Hinchey of Ulster County, ands Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

Senator James Skoufis, a Democrat from Orange County, voted against the raise. “At a time when many New Yorkers are struggling to keep food on the table and care for their families, voting for a 29 percent salary raise on the taxpayers’ dime is unjustifiable, at best,” he said.

Senator Sue Serino, a Republican from Dutchess County, didn’t hold back in her opposition.

“These guys are completely tone deaf and I can see the picture now. It’s going to be the greedy lawmaker once again taking and taking and sticking their hands in the peoples’ pockets, but the pockets are empty. What do the people do?” she said.

In the Assembly, the raise passed by a vote of 81 to 52. Minority Republicans opposed it.

Among the Democrats voting against the bill was Assemblyman Jonathan Jacobson of Orange County. “I did not run for the Assembly to receive a pay raise. I ran for the Assembly to deal with the urgent problems facing residents of my district, ranging from gun violence to predatory, illegal an incompetent billing by Central Hudson to infrastructure improvements to housing affordability,” he said. “In these economic times, a 29 percent pay raise is not appropriate.”

Governor Hochul, a Democrat, is expected to sign the legislation.