Compensation Committee “overstepped its authority” says Flanagan

Senate Republican Conference leader John Flanagan, Legislative Gazette file photo

Statement from Senate Republican Conference Leader John Flanagan:

“After 20 years without a raise, it’s time for hardworking members of the Legislature to receive one, and I have said so many times. I support the compensation committee’s recommendation when it comes to both legislative and executive cost-of-living adjustments.

“However, this committee has significantly overstepped its authority by attempting to change the way the Legislature operates and functions, especially when it comes to a move severely limiting the outside income of individual legislators. The committee was never tasked with making any determination on that matter, and should not have made one. By doing so, they alone are deciding who is eligible to run for public office in New York and who is not. Additionally, previous efforts to cap outside income were advanced via a constitutional amendment, and therefore, if challenged, this effort would likely be ruled unconstitutional.

“On top of that, I have concerns over tying future adjustments in pay to passage of on-time budgets. Timely and responsive budgets are always the goal, but this so-called “reform” is an inherent conflict of interest that runs contrary to the separation of powers that should exist between the Executive and Legislature.

“I have always believed that New Yorkers benefit from having a Legislature made up of people from all walks of life – – doctors, nurses, lawyers, small businessmen and women, chiropractors, pharmacists, real estate agents, and more. I want people who have worked in the real world and understand the impact their decisions will have on hardworking, middle-class taxpayers, and I think the vast majority of New York’s families do too.

“Rather than getting the best man or woman for the position, the professional legislator model will get us the next politician in line – – one who will be more concerned with retaining his or her job than doing the people’s business. And, that’s not good for democracy.”