Assembly Speaker Heastie, Bronxite, Must Do the Right Thing on Raise Recommendation

14 Dec

10.14.18 — Most city residents don’t know who their state legislators are. It’s just a fact. I don’t know of a poll in this regard, but I bet a tiny, tiny fraction of us Bronxites know that an assemblyman from the northeast Bronx, Carl Heastie, is the speaker of the Assembly. A pretty important job especially considering that he and his Democratic colleagues could get some critically important legislation passed, now that the state Senate will be led by Democrats on Jan. 1.

So, Heastie has the power to do good. But there’s word that he might, well, do something very bad. A group of current and former city and state comptrollers was given the power to come up with recommendations regarding whether and how to increase state legislators’ pay from $79,500 to $110,000 on Jan. 1 and eventually to $130,000 in 2021. That would be the top pay for state legislators in the country. The critical caveat the comptroller-team put forward was that legislators’ outside income can only be 15 percent of what they earn in the Assembly or state Senate. That’s because so much of the vast corruption in Albany is related to hidden handshake money deals on legislation that is connected with lawmakers’ non-government gigs.  U.S. congressmen/women and  senators in D.C. are prohibited from doing other work while they’re in Congress for this exact reason.

So making $50,500 more than they make right now is a perfect incentive to do the right thing. Right?

Well, it seems many state legislators don’t think so. If the legislature does nothing (something we want for a change!) in terms of the comptrollers’ recommendations, all of the good stuff they proposed will take effect on Jan. 1. But according to a New York Times editorial today, Speaker Heastie is thinking of what the current State Senate majority leader John Flanagan is thinking: staging a vote in both chambers before Jan. 1 to get their big raise but also to keep allowing a ton of outside money to interfere with the critical government jobs voters hired them for.

Speaker Heastie, a Bronxite and like the second or third most powerful person in state government, needs to to do the right thing: vow publicly that he won’t allow a vote to undercut the comptrollers’ excellent and desperately needed small-‘d’, democratic good-government proposal.

If you agree, give Heastie a call at his office and tell him to the let his pay raise go forth the way the comptrollers recommended. So essentially, no more decision making or voting on this. It should be done, which would be good for democracy in our state. His office number is 718-654-6539 and/or email him at Speaker@nyassembly.gov.

-Jordan Moss

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