New York State In-depth

North Country Legislature Responds to NYS Legislature Pay Raise

ALBANY, New York (WWNY) – They are now the nation’s highest-paid lawmakers.

Rep. Ken Blankenbush, incoming Rep. Scott Gray and new state senator Mark Walczyk are among those in the state Legislature adding $32,000 to their salaries.

From $110,000 to $142,000. That’s an increase of 29%.

Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the law into law on Saturday and it went into effect on Sunday.

Lawmakers first passed the law during a special session in late December. Voting went mostly along the party line, with Democrats saying it was necessary to keep up with the cost of living.

But before the vote, then MP Mark Walczyk discussed the issue at the assembly level.

“None of you are going broke, the people you represent are. You should be ashamed that you are calling a special session to submit such a bill to the State Assembly,” Walczyk said in December.

Freshly sworn in as a state senator, his stance hasn’t changed.

In a statement to 7 News, Walczyk said, “Democrats running for office this year have lied to voters by omission because they intended to line their own pockets. You bring shame on yourself and the entire New York State government.”

Meanwhile, Assemblyman-elect Scott Gray did not vote on the bill because he was out of office at the time.

He will be sworn in on Tuesday. However, he says the bill and timing for it are “out of reach”.

“It just doesn’t realize what the average public is struggling with right now. In terms of putting gas in her car, getting groceries and things like that. It’s a very self-centered move,” Gray said.

Also part of the bill is that starting in 2025, outside income will be capped at $35,000, excluding payments from military service, retirement plans, or investments. Before that there was no limit.

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