No To Pay Raises, Legislators Shouldn’t Be Paid At All

A legislative column by Assemblyman David DiPietro (R,C-East Aurora)

While many of my colleagues in Albany debate the merits of spending more taxpayer money on enriching themselves, I’m introducing new legislation that would make serving the public in the Legislature a non-paying position. With a Capitol so rife with corruption, drastic maneuvers are required to clean it up and restore the public’s trust.

In the last two years, we’ve seen the Speaker of the Assembly and the Senate Majority Leader arrested and convicted of felony abuses of power. We’ve seen the statehouse as the backdrop for far too many corruption news stories and not nearly enough good stories of serving the public with integrity and solving the big issues facing our state. If we remove pay from the equation, only those entirely interested in serving the public would consider running for office.

This action would save the state millions of dollars, and bring about a new era of citizen leadership. Holding this position is an honor and one that should be respected. This isn’t a full-time position and there’s no need to make it one. This is a part-time position in which you serve the people and you should be serving them with a clear conscience.

This is not the only reform needed to clean up Albany and provide a greater check against the corruption we see dominating the news. Our first act as a legislative body should be to pass the amendment requiring corrupt politicians to be stripped of their taxpayer-financed pension following a felony conviction. Then it’ll go straight to the ballot to be voted on by the people, where I’m confident we’ll all vote together to ensure a real punishment will be attached to Albany corruption once and for all.

We must continue to fight for the kinds of reforms that can get Albany working for the people again. Like term limits so no one individual can accumulate the kind of power Sheldon Silver did over two decades. We must also prohibit campaign dollars from going toward personal uses, and penalize those who fail to properly report corruption. Everyone has to be committed to reforming Albany. We deserve a government we can all trust to do the right thing, even when we aren’t looking.

If you have any ideas about what else we can do to clean up Albany, please reach out to me and my office. This is the most important aspect of our government. This doesn’t have to be the reality that we live under; a Capitol in which the sole check on corruption is an ambitious US Attorney.

My office is right here in our hometown. If you’d like to chat about ethics reform, or any other local or statewide issue you’d like to see solved, I encourage all of you to reach out. My office is located at 411 Main Street, and our phone number is 716-655-0951. You can also reach us through email at