New York lawmakers went without a pay raise for 20 years. That seems to be the justification for a 64 percent increase by 2021. I wonder why they didn’t try to sell the public on, “Boy, we sure did earn it!”
Since you and I soon will be shelling out for $130,000 yearly salaries, we should take a good look at their record. That’s what any good boss would do. Oh yeah, we are the boss! OK, sit down, Albany. It’s time for your performance review.
To start, you’ve given the good people of New York the highest tax burden in the entire country. Personally, that’s all I need to know. But hold on to your hats, there’s more.
Because of you, our once-beautiful state of opportunity is now ranked as the second-worst state for business, among the least-friendly to small business, we get an F grade for our finances, our economic outlook is ranked dead last, and you’ve made this the least-free state in the country.
Take a deep breath.
Our gas taxes are among the highest in the U.S.; so are our wireless taxes, electricity rates, and cigarette taxes. It costs more to live here, to retire here, and to die here. Why?
State income taxes,tolls, vehicle inspections and registrations, and even bottle deposit laws. Some states give you a break in some of these areas. But you make sure we get them all. Again, why?
Perhaps it’s because you like to spend? I mean really spend.
You spend $8 billion a year on job creation, more than any other state, but where are the jobs? Time and time and time again we see that the upstate economy lags behind the rest of the country. By the way, this is not new. We had this same discussion about 20 years ago—you know, the last time of your last pay raise. Not much has changed.
How about our highways? You spend two and a half times the national average and, quite frankly, they stink—ranking among the worst in the nation for performance and cost-effectiveness. Our roads and bridges are just as bad, and it’s not just costing us in tax dollars but also in the beating our vehicles take every year.
Unfortunately, it’s not much better when it comes to our schools. Outside of D.C., you spend more on education than any other state at $23,265 per student. That’s twice the national average of $11,642. But the outcomes are mediocre at best. By the way, New York experienced the greatest decline in enrollment (minus 5.3 percent). Did our school taxes go down?
And what about your behavior?
You have so routinely made an unethical spectacle of yourself that New York has been crowned the No. 1 state for corruption. You’ve been busted for taking money from non-profits, bribery, sexual harassment, stealing grant money, and there’s not enough room on this page to list them all. You’ve made scandal common in the capital.
I almost forgot. We were discussing a raise.
Based on your performance, one might conclude you’re currently a tad overpaid. With a base salary of $79,500, you are already the third-highest paid legislature in the country! Toss in your pension, health care, daily per diems (which can top more than $20,000), and bonus bucks for chairing committees (ranging from $9,000 to $41,500), you’re doing much better than the good folks who pay your salary. (The average household income in New York is $62,765.) Not bad for about 60 days in session.
What matters in the end are the results. You’re supposed to be leading, but look around. No one is following. In fact, they’re fleeing. People vote with their feet and they are voting in astonishing numbers. New York leads the nation in residents moving to other states. Our biggest export today is our children. That is your record.
So, what does all this mean? It means the good people of New York are sick and tired of saying goodbye to family and friends who can no longer afford to call this home.
Tell me again why you think you deserve a raise?
Steven Patrick is a media professional with over 20 years of experience in film and television. From Dateline NBC to local news in several U.S. markets, including Rochester, he has been recognized as an Emmy award-winning producer of news series and documentaries.
I think it’s time we do a pay-by-performance salary. If they don’t deliver they get paid less. Or better yet, subject them to the employ-at-will agreement like the rest of the New York Residents are subjected to. Meaning, we can terminate them at any time without reason, and they don’t get any type of protection.
It’s time they are treated the same as the rest of New York.