The three announced candidates for the 15th State Senate District are either opposed to rumored legislative pay raises next year or say there are far more important things to worry about before any such vote should even take place.
State senators and Assembly members now receive $79,000 per year, one of the highest rates in the country. They also receive $171 per day for expenses when the part-time Legislature is in session.
Legislators have not had a pay increase since 1999, and talk out of Albany is that a bill increasing them to $100,000 — which would be the highest in the nation — could come up in January following November’s elections.
Juan Reyes, the candidate backed by the Queens Republican Party, last week called the plan “an outrage” in a statement issued by his campaign.
“All around New York State, people are suffering,” Reyes stated. “And now Albany’s part-time legislators have the nerve to plan raising their own pay to $100,000 a year or more.”
Jessica Proud, spokeswoman for Reyes’ GOP primary opponent, Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), says he shares the sentiment
“Councilman Ulrich is opposed to pay raises, particularly as Queens families are struggling during difficult economic times.” Ulrich and Reyes are vying for their party’s nomination in a primary scheduled for Sept. 13.
The Ulrich camp also tweaked incumbent Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) for voting for a pay increase during his tenure in the City Council. Addabbo, asked about the issue on a visit to the Chronicle’s offices, said the talk about such a vote still is just talk at this point.
“There are rumors going on,” he acknowledged. “But before I would even consider a vote on that there has to be a vote on the state’s minimum wage, on hydrofracking, on campaign finance reform. I think people right now care less about rumors than issues that directly affect them.”