While plenty of state lawmakers have privately groused that they’re due their first pay raise since 1999, few have been publicly supportive.
The veteran senator voiced her support earlier this week, telling the Times Union she would be willing to give up the mandated $165-a-day per diem payment for every day spent in Albany if state legislators’ base pay was hiked to $135,000.
Currently state lawmakers are paid a $79,500 base salary, along with the per diems and stipends for leadership positions or committee posts.
We followed up with Hassell-Thompson on Thursday following the release of a Quinnipiac University poll that found 80 percent of New Yorkers oppose a pay increase.
ignorant ignorance on the part of the public in terms of really being educated about what their legislators really do,” she said Thursday. “Half of the people don’t even know what the hell we do. We don’t do enough to educate people.”
She gave several examples of the time-consuming work she does in her district, which in a single day can consist of several stops in the Bronx as well as Mt. Vernon. Her office, Hassell-Thompson said, serves as something of a one-stop shop for concerns and issues her constituents are dealing with.
Hassell-Thompson also said she’s considering taking a second job — allowed under state law — but said that could be difficult since she already devotes full-time hours to her legislative position.
She took issue with calling her current job “part time.”
“In 2005 when I bought my house, my local taxes were $9,600,” Hassell-Thompson said. “My taxes are $14,000. How am I supposed to cover that increase in costs without some type of outside job? I’m already giving full time to this position (as senator).”