They Got Needs
Larry Littlefield, at Room 8 Blog, explains why, critical as he is of Albany shennanigans, he's not particularly worked up over the prospect of a pay raise for NY state legislators:
It may be fair to suggest that our current state legislators have treated the general public with contempt, and do not deserve the increase. But my view is that one has to meet oneâ€™s own obligations before pointing fingers, and showing contempt for the legislature by cutting its inflation-adjusted pay isnâ€™t doing so.
Remember, there are plenty of interests up in Albany who are willing to pay more than we do for their services and a bigger share of our money. They are up there being nice to our elected officials and giving them money. Perhaps the general public needs to ante up.
He's got a good point. This is why unpaid, or virtually unpaid legislatures are such a bad idea. If you want a job done right, you have to pay for it - and if the taxpayers don't pay legislators, someone else will. It's silly to oppose raises for lawmakers simply out of the knee-jerk opinion that they're all a bunch of bums.
Still, and expensive as living in NYC can be, it's harder to sympathize with a body of folks who - despite working only part-time - are already the third-highest paid state legislators in the nation (with the raise under consideration, they'd move to second - behind only California, which has a full-time legislature).
Here's what I'd be happy to exchange for a raise: comprehensive rules reform that would empower and demand accountability from every single member of the New York state legislature. But, for many legislators, that might be just too double-edged a sword...