New York state lawmakers are getting a major pay raise, to be phased in over several years. In total, state senators and Assembly members will see their salary increase by $50,500, bringing them from $79,500 to $130,000 a year. They have received their first bump to $110,00, but there’s a caveat if they want the rest of the money – a 15 percent cap on outside income starting in 2020. In 2021, the last year for the raise phase-in, lawmakers will only be allowed to earn $19,500 from secondary jobs.
State legislating was previously considered a part-time gig, but the pay raise commission that decided on the new salaries and rules effectively decided to make it full-time. This has caused a considerable amount of friction among some lawmakers who like the current set-up. Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick has even filed a lawsuit arguing that the commission doesn’t have the legal authority to set salary.
It makes sense that some lawmakers oppose the income restriction – especially those who rake in tens or even hundreds of thousands of extra dollars a year from their other jobs. And the restrictions haven’t stopped at least one new lawmaker from accepting secondary employment. State Sen. Robert Antonacci recently accepted a position with a law firm, giving him one year of unrestricted outside income before the cap kicks in.
It’s unknown how much Antonacci will make, and therefore how much he stands to lose. The same is true for all the new state lawmakers elected in 2018, who have either not yet filed financial disclosures with the state or have filings that reflect previous jobs. But among current lawmakers elected prior to 2018, here are the five highest earners – and potentially biggest losers with the outside income cap linked to the pay raise – in both chambers, according to their most recent state filings.
State Sen. George Amedore owns and operates his family’s construction business. In 2017, he earned between $325,000 and $450,000, making him the state lawmaker with the most outside income, and thus the one with the most to lose under the pay raise commission’s recommendations.
State Sen. Andrew Lanza makes between $155,000 and $270,000 as a private practice personal injury and real estate attorney.
State Sen. Thomas O’Mara makes between $101,000 and $155,000 as a private attorney.
State Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer makes between $100,000 and $150,000 as a private practice personal injury attorney.
State Sen. Luis Sepulveda makes between $100,000 and $150,000 as a private practice attorney.
Assemblyman David Weprin makes between $101,000 and $155,000 as an investment banker and private practice attorney.
Assemblyman Clyde Vanel makes between $100,000 and $150,000 as a private practice corporate attorney.
Assemblyman Phillip Steck makes between $100,00 and $150,000 as a private practice attorney.
Assemblyman Michael Norris makes between $100,000 and $150,000 as a private practice attorney.
Assemblyman William Barclay makes between $96,000 and $155,000 as a partner in a personal law firm, as well as a director at Pathfinder Bank and Countryway Insurance.