Group sues state over plan to increase salaries for state legislators

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YONKERS -

The recent decision to increase state lawmaker's salaries and to change rules for serving the Legislature is illegal, according to a conservative group.

The Government Justice Center has filed a lawsuit against the state after a committee tasked with assessing state pay made the decision to increase salaries for the governor, members of the state Assembly and state Senate.

According to court documents, the plaintiffs in the case say "such a major policy decision should have been made by the Senate and Assembly in legislation as required by the Constitution."

The state Compensation Committee voted to increase lawmakers' pay by 64 percent over three years, but it also recommended limiting their outside income to 15 percent of their public salary.

Some legislators say that may discourage people from running.

"Many of us also moonlight," says Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti of the 92nd District. "I have a small ball practice which supplements the income that I got, so I'm a full-time assemblyman and then a part-time lawyer and just like many other people in this area trying to make ends meet--they have two jobs."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, however, says with such a big pay increase, it only makes says that outside income has to be limited.

News 12 reached out to incoming state Senate Majority Leader Andrew Stewart Cousins, of Yonkers, for comment, but has not yet heard back.

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