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A new report from the Albany Times Union gives New Yorkers an in-depth look at the New York State Legislature’s staff as well as the advantages given to incumbent politicians thanks to their bloated work force.
The New York State Legislature’s staff is the largest in the nation, employing 2,865 people between the Senate and Assembly. The Times Union report is quick to highlight that this figure is 750 more staffers than what the California Legislature employs – a state with twice the population of New York.
And these staffers are all financed on the taxpayers’ dime. The Times Union’s analysis released a list of the top 25 highest-paid staffers, each making well over six figures.
These staff members have helped give the majority parties in Albany an edge over their minority competitors because they not only control their own staff budgets, but they control those of the minority parties as well.
This not only gives incumbents a leg-up in their day-to-day lawmaking operations, but also an extreme advantage during campaign season, dampening the threat from potential challengers. The report also explores how staffers have performed campaign-related work while on the clock for taxpayers.
One perk legislative staff have during election season is the ease of becoming a notary. According to the Times Union’s report:
“For the average New York resident, the odds of holding a notary public license are less than 2 in 100. If you’re a staffer in the New York state Senate, however, the chances are more than 1 in 4. More than 360 people on the chamber’s payroll are notaries, a designation that allows them to authenticate legal documents. More than 85 percent of those employees work for the Senate Republican majority, which controls the chamber’s purse strings, including the budget for hiring.”
The publication’s analysis found that election law allows notaries to partake in essential signature-gathering work they otherwise wouldn’t legally be able to do. Rather than incumbents and newcomers competing for office on even ground, many incumbents use government perks to give themselves an unfair advantage.
This of course happens at the expense of the taxpayers who are left ignored and unrepresented while still being subjected to endless politicking by those who claim to serve their constituents.
Lawmakers should work to serve New Yorkers, not their political agenda. Join Reclaim New York today!