Twenty-five state lawmakers are getting bigger stipends in addition to their base pay than they made last year, while seven are making less and the rest of the 213 legislators are earning the same salary as they did last year, according to a review of salary records by Gannett’s Albany Bureau.
The base salary for members of the Assembly and Senate is $79,500, and roughly two-thirds of them earn additional stipends for leadership positions. Those who are from outside the Albany area get $165 for hotels and meals each day they are in Albany, a rate set by the federal government. They haven’t received an increase in their base pay since 1998.
Yonkers Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins’ salary increased from $94,000 to $114,000 this year after she was named leader of the Senate Democratic conference. (She is pictured here.) The former Democratic leader, Sen. John Sampson, D-Brooklyn, dropped $23,500 when he left the post — the largest salary loss among lawmakers.
Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski, D-New City, was elected in 2007 and earned only the base pay until this year. In January, he was named co-chairman of the Administrative Regulations Review Commission, which comes with a $12,500 stipend.
“As in any job, the more years you put in, the more you learn and the more ability you have to understand legislation, understand the system and get things done for your constituents,” told Gannett’s Albany Bureau.
Some lawmakers were stripped of their so-called “lulus” by legislative leaders after alleged misdeeds. Sen. Malcolm Smith, D-Queens, also lost a $12,500 stipend after federal prosecutors last month accused him of trying to bribe Republican leaders to win the New York City mayoral nomination. Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin and Deputy Mayor Joseph Desmaret are among others who have been charged in the scheme.
Dick Dadey, executive director of Citizens Union, a good-government group based in New York City, said the Legislature should do away with stipends because they are used as a way for legislative leaders to wield power.
“Stipends should end, and we should have a new approach to legislative compensation,” he said. “They are used to both reward and punish lawmakers.”
These are the local Assembly and Senate members, along with their 2013 and 2012 salaries:
Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti, D-Greenburgh: $79,500; $79,500
Sen. Gregory Ball, R-Patterson: $92,000; $92,000
Sen. David Carlucci, D-Clarkstown: $92,000; $92,000
Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, D-Ossining: $92,000; $92,000
Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson, D-Mount Vernon: $94,000; $96,000
Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, D-Suffern: $92,000; $92,000
Assemblyman Steve Katz, R-Yorktown: $88,500; $88,500
Sen. George Latimer, D-Rye: $90,500; $92,000
Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, D-Scarsdale: $92,000; $92,000
Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, D-Mount Vernon: $92,000; $92,000
Assemblywoman Annie Rabbitt, R-Greenwood Lake, Orange County: $88,500; $88,500
Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, D-Yonkers: $114,000; $94,000