State lawmakers are pushing for their first pay raise in fifteen years, and they say in exchange, they might even be willing to give up the practice of a daily stipend for each day they spend in Albany, known as per diems, that has sometimes led to abuse.
Legislators receive $172 dollars for every day that they spend in Albany, above normal travel and lodging expenses, and in addition to their $79,500 a year base pay.
State lawmakers say they want to act quickly to spend the state’s $5 billion dollar and growing surplus on an infrastructure fund to fix up roads and bridges, among other things. At a conference on the state’s infrastructure, sponsored by a think tank, participants said there are deep needs, and they warn lawmakers not to spend the money frivolously.
Speaker Silver says he’d like to further increase the state’s minimum wage, and give legislators ,as well as Cuomo Administration commissioners, their first pay raise in 15 years. The Speaker says he also wants to create a fund for infrastructure, like road and bridge repair, from the one time $5 billion dollar surplus due to recent bank settlements.
“It’s a one shot revenue, it should be a one shot expenditure,” Silver said.
Silver says the windfall surplus should not be part of the state budget.
The state’s Education Conference Board says now that the economy is improving and the state has a multi billion dollar surplus, it’s time to end years of what they say is under spending on New York’s schools.
The board is made up of the state’s teachers, school boards, superintendents and the PTA, among others. They agree that school spending must increase significantly in the New Year. Chairman John Yagielski says the groups want $1.9 billion additional dollars for the 2015-16 school year.