'Joltin' Joe Morelle (way left), seen here likely lecturing disgraced former NY Gov. Eliot Spitzer (right) on ethics. Joe already takes home over $100,000 a year, and will make even more if you let him raise his own pay.
Friday, June 29, 2012 Rochester, NY - How is your job treating you? First, are you one of the lucky ones in New York State, and you still have a job? If so, have you had a raise lately? Do you have a pension or retirement still? Do you work two or more jobs?
As you contemplate these and other sobering questions about the state of our economy, and more importantly, the state of your own finances, try to digest this:
New York State lawmakers are the third highest paid state legislators in the nation, and unlike most of you, are part time workers. Only state legislators in California ($95,000 / year) and Pennsylvania ($82,000) make more. Assembly members and State Senators haven't had their pay increased since 1999, a hike that brought Albany lawmakers to their current base pay of $79,500 (without bonuses for serving on committees, etc.).
According to CBS Channel 2 in New York, members of the State Senate and Assembly will, in a cowardly and surreptitious manner, wait until after the November elections to do their dirty deed, and raise their annual salaries, so as not to raise the ire of financially strapped state taxpayers.
Your Income versus N.Y. State Lawmakers.
A 2010 U.S. Census Bureau report shows that New York State has a per capita income of $48,800, one of the highest rates in the nation. And the least well off state? That would be Mississippi, at just $31,000. The U.S. average is just over $40,000.
Again, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median income in New York State for one wage earner is $46,000; for two wage earners, $57,000; for three, $68,000; and the median income for four wage earners in one house, per year, is $83,000. Remember, for one wage earner, in the state legislature, who you pay to represent you, the taxpayer, the minimum annual salary is $79,500. And if there is no public outcry before the November elections, state lawmakers will see their base salaries rise by 25%. When was your last raise, in one year, of 25%?
Texas state legislators, by comparison, make just $28,000 per year, for 140 days of work. However, Texas has five million more state residents than does New York (25 million to 19.8 million). So, for governing a state with 5 million more people, Texas state lawmakers earn less than one-third (28%) of what our increasingly rich ne'er-do-well legislators in Albany will make, if their pay raises are approved by Governor Cuomo.
How the Other Half Lives.
Now think of our state legislators and their bloated salaries (for part-time work), and then think of the poor souls in our state, in Western New York, that must figure out how to live on a job that pays at or near the minimum wage (in New York State, just $7.25 per hour). Or worse (or better, depending on the size of your public assistance check), you must battle the red tape of securing welfare. The state-wide unemployment rate in the Crumbling Empire State is 8.6% (8% in Greater Rochester, and just 7.6% in metro Albany, where government largesse is a way of life). The U.S. unemployment rate is 7.9%.
Open your phone book (Do you still have a land line?), or fire up your computer, or even dial 411, and call, email, or snail mail your member of the Assembly and/or State Senate, and let them know how you really feel about the unmitigated gall of elected officials, who are supposed to watch over your money, arrogantly proposing jacking their already bloated annual salaries (for part-time work), from nearly $80,000, to over $100,000.
Plato is credited with saying, "When there is an income tax, the just man will pay more and the unjust less on the same amount of income." Take it from me, it's true.
But what is also true is that "those who could benefit most from political activism, those in the middle and lower income brackets, are the least likely to become involved in reforming the exact system, which, through taxation, takes so much from them, and gives them back so little." (-Christopher J. Wilmot, 2012)
-Christopher J. Wilmot, Pittsford, NY
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