Retiring Assemblyman Daniel Burling, R-Warsaw, Wyoming County, got big applause on the Assembly floor last month when he gave his farewell speech and said, “Certainly the people of New York state are well served, and I will be back (after election day) to vote for your pay raise.”
Burling, who is retiring at year’s end, told Gannett’s WGRZ in Buffalo this week that he believes lawmakers will approve a pay raise after the election — as widely expected — and the standing ovation he received was “because I actually stood up and said what a lot of people were thinking.”
Burling said he believes that by raising legislators’ pay, they’ll be able to attract better candidates.
“I think if you look at the comparison for pay in my district where the average salary is maybe $45,000 or $50,000 a year that does sound like a lot of money,” Burling said, “but mind you we’re running a $140 billion industry here in New York state and to get qualified people to the legislature, who are not lawyers and not professional politicians I think they have to be compensated fairly.”
Lawmakers receive a base pay of $79,500 and most get stipends, ranging from $9,000 to $45,000, for leadership posts. They haven’t had a raise since 1999, and there’s the speculation is that they’ll give themselves a raise after the November elections.
They would have to do it this year, because sitting lawmakers can’t give themselves a raise — and a new Legislature would be seated in January.