WXXI AM News

ethics reform

Should New York State lawmakers be granted a pay raise? The question is not as simple as it may seem.

State lawmakers have not received a salary increase since 1999, and now an Albany commission is considering a proposal to raise their pay by up to 47%. If the salary increase were approved, the base pay of $79,500 a year for legislators would increase to about $113,000 a year, if the rising consumer price index over the past 17 years is factored in.

The idea for the increase has been met with harsh criticism, especially after the wave of corruption charges against dozens of senators and Assembly members. But, government reform groups are in favor of the pay raise, as long as it is accompanied by reforms -- including banning or severely restricting outside income (which factored into the corruption convictions of two former legislative leaders), and eliminating extra stipends for committee chairs and leadership posts. We break down the details with our guests:

Cuomo's Pledge to Clean up Albany Unfulfilled

Sep 23, 2016

The criminal charges against nine of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s associates is the latest incident in a wave of corruption that has enveloped the State Capitol for the past several years.

When Cuomo first became governor in 2011, he promised to do something about it. So far, he has not been particularly successful.

Cuomo, in his inaugural speech as governor on Jan. 1, 2011, promised that corruption at the Capitol would end and public trust would be restored during his tenure in office.

Governor Cuomo has been in a spat over ethics reform. Cuomo says he's made it clear that he wants further reforms; pro-reform groups want more than lip service. In fact, they want to end "three men in a room" once and for all. Can it happen? Our guests:

Ethics reform is at the center of the budget deal that was drafted over the weekend. But is it the tough, game-changing reform that Governor Cuomo claims? There are reasons to doubt the claims that this ethics package will make sweeping changes. Our guests will explain why, drilling into loopholes, as well as what made the cut. Our guests:

  • Karen DeWitt, WXXI News Capital Bureau Correspondent
  • Joe Spector, Albany Bureau Chief for Gannett
  • Bill Mahoney, reporter for Capital New York
  • Brian Kolb, minority leader of the New York State Assembly
  • Blair Horner, legislative director for NYPIRG
  • Katherine Smith, League of Women Voters