The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

January 15, 2014

In Your Opinion: Bill wouldn't limit legislature to wealthy

--
The Daily Star

---- — Contrary to the assessment in your editorial (“Don’t restrict outside income of legislators,” Jan. 4,) the legislation I recently introduced barring legislators from holding outside employment specifically addresses the needs of legislators to be paid a reasonable salary for their work. 

My bill would establish a quadrennial Commission on Legislative Compensation, modeled after the commission recently established to examine judicial pay, to ensure that legislators’ pay is commensurate with full-time employment. My bill is neutral on whether there should actually be a pay increase; this issue would be left to the commission to examine.

It is also incorrect that my bill would create a hardship for legislators because they need outside employment income to help pay for Albany travel and lodging. In fact, state legislators already receive a per diem for these expenses, in addition to their annual salary.

I strongly agree that the Legislature should be open to everyone, not just the privileged few who can afford the pay cut. Let’s make the job full-time and compensate legislators appropriately, while at the same time help clean up Albany by ending conflicts of interest from outside employment. 

Brad Hoylman

New York

Hoylman, a Democrat, represents Manhattan in the state Senate.