Sen. William Stachowski defended the raises for his staff this way: They are doing a lot more work.
The Democrats control the Senate now, so Democratic senators like him are in big demand. He's busier. So are his workers. Their pay had been suppressed for years because, after all, Democrats were the minority party in the Senate.
I asked him why the Senate had to run that way. Why couldn't power be allocated not by party affiliation but by a senator's successful initiatives, their problem-solving skills, their ability to save money and help New York reach a better place than it finds itself today?
How would power be allocated if New York elected its legislators in — gasp — non-partisan races?
There was a long pause at the other end of the line. Stachowski attempted some kind of answer. And he left me feeling like I needed a fresh injection of reality.
Which I probably do.
But why should taxpayers pay more because Albany operates under a feudal system that suppresses one set of legislators and promotes another, when they all serve the same numbers of deserving state taxpayers?
In the worst economy since the Depression, the people who will set budgetary policy for state government see nothing wrong with handing out double-digit raises when thousands of private-sector workers are losing their jobs.
— Matthew Spina
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