Our once great state needs reform. It starts with the people running the show, our legislators, the senators and assembly people. We elect them and they head to Albany in January, usually on Monday, and leave Albany on Thursday. This takes place from January through March, unless the budget isn’t finalized, then they stay a few more days until it is. After this they proceed to spend Monday through Wednesday from April till June 30 in Albany. They then, for the next six months, come back to their districts and campaign, have fundraisers, all on our tax dollars. April, May and June they (their staff) are writing legislation and negotiating with other legislators to get votes for the bills they (their donors) support. Their trips to Albany and back are all reimbursed along with a certain dollar amount per day (per diem which equates to around $15,000/legislator) for the days spent in Albany. This is all on top of the $110,000-plua salary they get paid. They all have staff and they are paid also (as they should be) On top of this is healthcare and pensions they all receive.
Some comparison numbers… Texas, Legislators get $7,200/year and $190/day per diem. They meet every other year for 140 days. Doing the math, They are paid $7,200 plus $13,300 per diem or $20,500/year
Texas has 28 million (+/-) people to New York's 19 million (+/-).
Florida legislators receive $29,700/year and they meet two months per year and receive $150 per day or $6,000 (+/-). So total would be $35,000 (+/-). Florida has 20 million (+/-) people (mostly ex-New Yorkers).
I could go on and on. New Hampshire legislators receive $200 every two years. New Jersey, $49,000.
My point is we need to change the direction our state is heading. Why not send our legislators down to Albany on Jan. 2 and and they resolve all budget issues by March 15. If a budget is not agreed upon then we resort to the prior year’s budget. An agreed-upon budget can never be more than a 2 percent increase from the prior year's budget. After March 15 our legislators are there for one more week. There is not any reason for them to be there more than that. Compensation should then be adjusted.
Status quo in New York State is not sustainable. Our founders never intended this to be a full-time job. If something doesn’t change, we can count on the continuing outmigration of our young talent.
Floyd Rayburn is a Canandaigua resident.