New Yorkers continue to strongly oppose a pay raise for members of the Legislature, who earn a base salary of $79,500 for the part-time job, according to a Quinnipiac Poll released today.
In a poll the university released July 26, 76 percent of voters surveyed said they did not support a pay hike. Seventeen percent said lawmakers should get a raise and 7 percent said they didn’t know. In the poll results released today, 80 percent said they were against raising salary, 16 percent said they would support it and 4 percent didn’t know.
The Legislature has not received a pay raise since 1999, and there has been speculation that lawmakers will approve a salary hike following the November elections. A sitting Legislature cannot approve a raise for itself. Since the two-year legislative term ends Dec. 31, any increase would benefit the next sitting Legislature (which, of course, will include a lot of incumbents).
“Perhaps prompted by the persistent stories of Albany misbehavior, New Yorkers overwhelmingly reject a legislative pay raise,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “If their pay was raised, would that produce a higher caliber of lawmaker? Thunderously, voters say ‘no.’”
Most legislators receive stipends on top of the $79,500 base salary, ranging from $9,000 to $45,000 for the top leadership positions.
Voters polled by Quinnipiac said 81 percent to 14 percent that higher pay will not attract better candidates for office. As for whether there should be public financing of campaigns for governor, other statewide offices and the Legislature, 48 percent said no and 41 percent said yes, according to Quinnipiac.
Other findings in the poll include:
—70 percent of voters approved of the job Gov. Andrew Cuomo is doing and 16 percent do not.
—34 percent of voters approved the job the Legislature is doing and 50 percent did not.
—36 percent of voters said corruption is a very serious problem in state government and 43 percent said it is a somewhat serious problem. Fourteen percent said it is “not too serious” of a problem, and the remainder said it was not a problem or they didn’t know.
Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,589 New York voters from Sept. 4-9, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.