Publisher’s Corner: Do state legislators deserve a pay raise? Maybe

Do legislators deserve a pay raise? Well, the answer is maybe.

We all know that there is quid pro pro, i.e. strictly illegal corruption — “Do this for me and I will give you money, Mr. or Ms. Legislator.” Then there is what you might call legal corruption, as in “I’m going to hire the Senator as my personal lawyer because she is powerful will deliver, because the judges want something like a pay raise or are just scared of the politicians.”

Soooo, one good idea might be to give them a pay raise but do what the United States Congress has done and prohibit legislators from earning any outside income. What are the chances that these people would go for that deal? When pigs fly. Some very powerful people among them do have second incomes and many others still want the option to take on outside work if the opportunity were to present itself.

Governor Cuomo drove these people crazy insisting that they take the deal: pay raise for no outside income. They just wouldn’t do it. In order to keep things going, a compromise was reached. Yet another commission with some very prominent New Yorkers on it would be established. It would give the legislators what they wanted and raise their pay and while they were at it, raise the governor’s pay as well. This all from the department of “Give me a break!”

We are hearing the usual rhetoric suggesting that these are really talented and excellent legislators and that they may quit if they don’t get the raises they want. That’s nonsense, of course. There are a lot of New Yorkers who would gladly work for the salary or maybe even for nothing. There’s a lot of prestige in the job. Whoopee.

But assuming that we can all accept the idea that about $80,000 bucks a year (base salary before all the phony add-ons) isn’t enough for what is really a part time state legislator and that salary has to be increased, we really should prohibit them from making out like bandits by working on the outside. But you’d have to have most of your brains removed not to understand that the fix is in and that Albany will continue to be one of the corruption capitals of the country. Right?

On another subject, the Washington Post is the latest to list potential presidential candidates. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand made the cut but Andrew Cuomo did not. I believe that Cuomo will be a candidate. Everything he is doing points in that direction. He is positioning himself as a fiscal middle of the roader with some notable exceptions. Following the lead of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Cuomo is positioning New York to bring the rest of the nation into his vision of a more robust middle class. Despite the fact that Andrew claimed God would punish him if he broke his word and didn’t serve out his full term as governor, I believe that he will run. We all know that much of what motivates Andrew Cuomo is his Freudian competitiveness with his old man who never made it to the top spot. If Andrew can’t make it to the White House, he might be forced to seek the fourth term that was denied to his father. But enough with Freud and Oedipus.

In any case, the old joke is that no one wants to get between Chuck Schumer and a microphone. Similarly, one can only surmise that it would be very dangerous for any Democratic New Yorker to get between Andrew and his dreams of sitting in the Oval Office. Of course, it is the year of the woman and Cuomo really can’t go to obvious war with Gillibrand. Finally, it isn’t the Washington Post who will decide who will run, it’s the candidates themselves who will go for it. Think Trump.