New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) was scheduled to receive a $25,000 pay raise beginning January 1. His salary would jump from $225,000 to $250,000 a year, making him the highest-paid governor in the nation, the New York Post reported. The worst part is all of this was done as the state faces a $63 billion budget deficit due to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.
What's amazing is the Commission on Legislative, Judicial and Executive Compensation agreed to Cuomo's pay raise but said no to the 213 legislators that make up the state Senate and Assembly, as well as state judges. Their reasoning: the pandemic.
"We understand the potential for significant budget cuts may be necessary at the state executive level as well if the federal government does not enact additional funding to address the economic hardship caused by COVID-19," the commission stated in a memo released on Monday. "Substantial additional state monies will be needed to deal with the pandemic, including providing face masks, virus tracking, contact tracing, enforcement efforts, and distribution of the hoped for new pandemic vaccine."
"Simply put the commissioners' worst fears as articulated in the 2019 Report – a downturn in the state's finances coupled with an inability to cover increased salary obligations – has unfortunately come to stark reality in the worst possible way," they explained, citing a similar reason not to provide state Supreme Court judges with pay raises last year. At the time, New York was only in a $6 billion deficit, roughly one-tenth of what it currently is.
"Granting raises to public servants, no matter how much they might otherwise deserve them, is simply not possible at this time," the memo stated.
Conservatives were quick to call out the irony:
.@NYGovCuomo is getting a pay raise while millions are suffering! For what? It’s unclear.— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) November 18, 2020
His COVID-19 response was a disaster. He can’t manage his state’s budget. And he expects the federal government to bail him out.
Apparently it pays to send the elderly to their deaths: Cuomo got himself a $25k raise as the state's deficit soarshttps://t.co/H5gtVvQA0l— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) November 18, 2020
Gov. Cuomo’s 25k raise will make him the highest-paid governor— Sara A. Carter (@SaraCarterDC) November 18, 2020
Judges and lawmakers in the state Senate and Assembly will not be receiving raises due to losses from the coronavirus pandemic.
So what exactly makes @NYGovCuomo king?https://t.co/IRzOAP6dIf
Cuomo gave himself a $25k raise. You can’t make this stuff up..,— Madison Gesiotto (@madisongesiotto) November 18, 2020
Andrew Cuomo is the highest paid governor in America and is giving himself a RAISE!— Nick Adams (@NickAdamsinUSA) November 19, 2020
He should be in jail!
After receiving flack for the pay raise, Cuomo said he would put the increase on hold, New York Daily News reported.
"I am going to ask the commissioners, myself, the other electeds, not to take a raise this year,” he said during a press conference on Wednesday. "I'm going to ask them to defer their raises and not take a raise, given the overall financial picture."