New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to get a hefty pay raise next year that will make him the highest paid governor in the country while citizens of his state continue to suffer from stringent Covid-19 restrictions that have wreaked havoc on the local economy.
Cuomo will take the top spot with an annual salary of $250,000 next year – compared to his current salary of $225,000.
Meanwhile, according to the New York Times, “More than one million residents are out of work, and the unemployment rate is nearly double the national average [in New York].”
The state is also facing a skyrocketing deficit, projected to hit $63 billion over t he next four years.
And while Cuomo is getting his juicy raise, a panel – which Cuomo sits on – decided that there is not enough money in the budget to give raises to other public servants.
New York legislators, judges and commissioners are not entitled to any raises, according to a Commission on Legislative, Judicial and Executive Compensation (CLJEC) panel. “The commission is composed of appointees of the chief judge of New York, the state Senate, Assembly and Gov. Andrew Cuomo,” Spectrum News noted.
That decision can be overturned by the state legislature, but that is considered unlikely.
CLJEC wrote, “Granting raises to public servants, no matter how much they might otherwise deserve them, is simply not possible at this time.”
“The base salary for New York’s 213 lawmakers is currently set at $110,000, plus a per diem for each day they spend at the Capitol in Albany,” The Daily Mail noted. “The salary for judges is varied based on their bench, with state Supreme Court judges making about $210,000.”
Ironically enough, while Cuomo is perfectly fine spending the struggling state’s money on his personal salary, the governor asked the federal government for more money on Tuesday.
“We don’t have a shovel big enough to dig out of [the deficit]. It’s the biggest number in history. We need help from Washington … Biden ran, and I know him and I supported and he’s a good man – he will fund state and local governments and we need that to come even close to balancing the budget.”
The CLJEC panel echoed, “’We understand the potential for significant budget cuts may be necessary at the state executive level as well if the federal government does not enact additional funding to address the economic hardship caused by COVID-19. Substantial additional state monies will be needed to deal with the pandemic, including providing face masks, virus tracking, contact tracing, enforcement efforts, and distribution of the hoped for new pandemic vaccine. Simply put the commissioners’ worst fears as articulated in the 2019 Report — a downturn in the state’s finances coupled with an inability to cover increased salary obligations — has unfortunately come to stark reality in the worst possible way.”
Even if the state wasn’t plagued financially by COVID-19, the Governor’s questionable handling of the health side of the pandemic begs the question, does he really deserve a raise?
New York leads the nation in total deaths from COVID-19, and sits at Second worst in terms of deaths per 1 million population.