Experts warn state pay raise process may be unconstitutional
Nov 19, 2018 12:15 pm
Michael Gormley is reporting for Newsday the use of a commission to consider pay raises for some state officials may be unconstitutional, some legal experts say. At issue is a constitutional provision that says the legislature must set compensation for legislators and state officials. Another question is whether the state constitution allows Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the legislature to give the power of lawmaking to an appointed panel. “There are serious constitutional questions,” said Albany Law School Professor Vincent Bonventre. “All you have to do is look at the New York state constitution, which makes it pretty clear the compensation for legislators and other elected officials and executive officials is to be set by law,...The constitution makes it absolutely clear that all laws must go through the process of a bill, which is passed by both houses of the legislature and goes to the governor,” Bonventre said. The commission was created following public opposition to several past attempts to raise salaries. Newsday asked legislative leaders and Cuomo to explain the legal basis for the law they passed to create the commission, but they did not respond to the question. Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who is the appointed head of the commission, also declined comment and referred questions to the attorney general’s office. The AG's spokesperson referred questions back to the governor and legislature. The compensation commission will hold public hearings November 28 in Albany, and November 30 in Manhattan. The deadline for action is Dec. 10. Read the full story in Newsday.