A state commission will decide in the coming weeks whether to boost the pay of state lawmakers, taking effect in 2019. Lawmakers have not had a pay increase in 20 years, but the reaction of voters to the news is predictable.
"Probably badly. New York's state lawmakers are paid the third highest in the country as it is. It is a part-time job. They're in Albany for half the year," said Blair Horner, New York Public Interest Research Group legislative director.
Lawmakers earn a base pay of $79,500 and many earn more for serving on a committee or in a leadership post. But they are also allowed to earn outside income from jobs like working at a law firm in addition to holding public office.
"The vast majority of lawmakers really don't have outside significant income. The ones that do are often at the top. We've seen some of the biggest scandals to topple the former Senate majority leader and the former Assembly speaker and that was because they were using their public office for private gain," said Horner.
The current legislative leaders do not earn significant outside income. Nevertheless, it is an issue Governor Andrew Cuomo says he wants to tackle.
"We need ethics reform and the legislative job should be a full-time position with no outside income," said Cuomo.
Some government advocates say raising pay could cut down on corruption.
"By limiting outside income similar to the way they do in Congress, you can reduce the temptation to cash in on your public job," said Horner.
And it would be popular with voters.
"You start with things that actually pull your coalition together and the salient factor is voters like it," said Bruce Gyory, former gubernatorial advisor.
The pay commission previously considered a pay raise for lawmakers in 2016. At the time Cuomo sought to tie the raise to a year-end special session. Cuomo has insisted nothing will be tied this time to the commission's decision.