New York Post | June 7, 2019 | Bernadette Hogan
In a victory for lawmakers, a state judge issued a ruling Friday that upholds legislative pay hikes that took effect in January while striking down restrictions on outside income — thus allowing them to keep their outside gigs.
An executive and legislative compensation committee empaneled by Gov. Cuomo and legislative leaders linked the pay hikes and restrictions on outside income as a part of a package last year.
The base pay for senators and assembly members jumped from $79,500 to $110,000 this year, and is supposed to jump $120,000 next year and $130,000 in 2021.
It also set Cuomo on track to become the nation’s top paid governor, increasing his salary to $200,000 this year, then $225,000 in 2020 and $250,000 in 2021.
In exchange for the pay hikes, the package imposed an restriction on outside income that bars senators and assembly members from earning private income that exceeds 15 percent of their legislative salary — beginning in 2020.
But Albany Supreme Court Justice Christina Ryba ruled the pay panel exceeded its authority by coupling salary increases to limitations on outside come. TOP ARTICLES1/5READ MOREDavid Ortiz up and walking after being shot inDominican Republic
The ruling upheld the pay raises — at least for 2019.
On Friday night, the parties were still reviewing whether judge’s 19-page ruling upheld pay raises for 2020 and 2021.
In one part of the decision, Ryba “severs” the 2019 pay increase from scheduled hikes for future years — suggesting the pay raises for 2020 and 2021 won’t take effect, and the pay committee or Legislature would have to revisit the issue.
Gov. Cuomo supported the pay panel’s decision to impose restrictions on outside income, side jobs that have contributed to pay-to-play corruption scandals.
The ruling was a partial victory for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) and other lawmakers, who complained the pay panel overstepped its bounds by tinkering with their private compensation.
The lawsuit was brought by the Government Justice Center, which argued the Legislature couldn’t delegate authority over legislative pay to an un-elected commission.
The members of the pay panel are state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, city Comptroller Scott Stringer and former state and city comptrollers Carl McCall and Bill Thompson.
© 2019 New York Post