Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he won’t entertain legislative pay hikes unless lawmakers increase the minimum wage and possibly decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, two of the governor’s priorities this year that didn’t pass in the Legislature, Gannett’s Albany Bureau reports.
Cuomo said yesterday that he “would not even consider” backing a hike in the $79,500 base salary for members of the Senate and Assembly unless they approved what he called the “people’s agenda.” While the Democrat-led Assembly supports raising the minimum wage, ending arrests for possessing small amounts of pot (known as the “stop and frisk” policy in New York City) and increasing legislative salaries, the GOP-controlled Senate does not.
The governor is expected to call a special session for lawmakers after the November election, according to Gannett’s Albany Bureau.
“We have a legislative agenda that did not get passed, which is the priority for me,” Cuomo said. “And if there is an opportunity for the Legislature to act, I’m going to be looking for them to act on the people’s agenda. I understand they may have an interest in a pay raise. I am interested in the people’s agenda, and that’s what the session would be about.”
Lawmakers who serve in leadership positions receive stipends in addition to the base salary of $79,500. They receive $165 a day for food and lodging when they are in Albany. The last time the Legislature received a pay raise was in 1999.