ALBANY, N.Y. – Just in time for the New Year, New York lawmakers have become the highest paid state legislators in the nation under a bill signed Saturday.
Members of both houses are getting a pay raise of $32,000, for a base salary of $142,000, under a bill Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a day before her inauguration Sunday. That’s a 29% raise over their previous salary of $110,000.
The law went into effect Sunday.
Before the pay boost, state lawmakers in California were the highest paid with a yearly base salary of $119,000, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
New York lawmakers passed the pay-raise bill during a special session in late December.
The new pay raise comes with restrictions, though.
Starting in 2025, outside income will be capped at $35,000. Pay in excess of that from military service, retirement plans, or investments will still be allowed.
Some Democrats in the legislature supported the pay raise, and said it was necessary in order to keep up with the cost of living.
But some Republican lawmakers spoke out against the bill during the special session, criticizing the ban on the outside income.
“Their attempt to buy political cover by instituting a ban on outside income won’t make Albany better, it will make it worse," said state Sen. George Borrello in explaining his “no” vote on the bill.
Borrello said the ban would discourage citizen legislators, or "enterprising, accomplished individuals with real-world experience from entering public service.”
The last pay raise state legislators received was in 2018, and that was their first raise in two decades.
Maysoon Khan is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow Maysoon Khan on Twitter at: twitter.com/MaysoonKhan.