ALBANY — If I’m going down, you’re coming with me!
Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared he will forgo his anticipated $25,000 raise slated for Jan. 2021, but so will other top politicians and state officials in light of the Empire State’s staggering $63 billion deficit.
Cuomo is owed an extra $25,000 at the start of the new year by law, which would transform him into the nation’s highest paid governor — raking in a whopping $250,000 annually.
Instead, Cuomo promised to give up his raise — and also volunteered to slash salary increases also expected by Lieutenant Gov. Kathy Hochul, Attorney General Letitia James and State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and a slew of agency commissioners.
“I’m gonna ask them to defer their raises and not take a raise given the overall financial picture for the same rationale that we didn’t do a raise,” Cuomo told reporters during a Wednesday press conference in Albany.
“I understand there’s a disconnect in the law, but I’m going to ask the commissioners, myself, the other electeds not to take a raise this year and then I’ll do an [executive order] to that effect — because it’s the same rationale now as not giving a raise to the other people,” he added, referring to a new report released by a state panel charged with setting salary increases for state officials earlier this week that put the kibosh on raises for state judges as well as the Legislature’s 213 state Senators and Assemblymembers.
“The way it works I think is a little complicated. The judges and the legislators don’t get a legal raise — technically, the four statewides do, and the commissioners do,” he explained.
The two groups’ raises are separated by differences in state law — Cuomo, Hochul, James, Dinapoli and the agency commissioners’ raises are triggered by a joint resolution voted on by the state Legislature. But the lawmakers abdicated their own salary hikes to the whim of the Commission on Legislative, Judicial and Executive Compensation.
The coronavirus pandemic has taken a major toll on state coffers — bleeding $14 billion heading into the 2021 state budget cycle and culminating to a total $30 billion in 2022. Other losses include New York City, the embattled MTA and Port Authority — bringing state losses over a four year period to roughly $63 billion.
Cuomo however will be making extra cash this year however — under the deal for his new book “American Crisis” released last month.
It’s yet unclear how much he’ll be making, as Cuomo himself and his office have repeatedly told reporters the number will be in the governor’s next campaign filing reports.
But Cuomo has said vaguely that a portion will be donated to a coronavirus-related entity.
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