But the most important element of the legislative pay structure is that the job of legislator is considered part time in New York, leaving legislators free — indeed, expected — to pursue other sources of income outside of the capitol. This has proved at least somewhat problematic for some legislators who brazenly mix public and private endeavors, an exercise made all the easier by the fact the state’s income disclosure requirements for representatives are laughably lax.
Even the more generous and understanding citizens of this state would conclude $90,000 is not particularly bad pay for a part-time job — many people work their fingers to the bone 52 weeks a year for far, far less.
If our representatives want a higher salary, then the public should demand something back. Namely, a full-time Legislature whose members are barred from most if not all types of outside income. This is the format used by the federal House and Senate (whose members make a base of $174,000 annual salary) and it is a good policy.
Lawmakers might deserve a change from the status quo, but so do the people of New York.