Gov. Andrew Cuomo is getting a $25,000 pay raise in January as New York state faces a massive budget deficit.
The New York Post reports Cuomo’s salary will increase from $225,000 to $250,000 on Jan. 1, 2021, making him the highest paid governor in the nation. California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who earns $210,000 a year, will be second.
The pay hike was approved in 2019, after 10 years of keeping the New York governor’s salary flat at $179,000. Cuomo’s salary rose to $200,000 that year, then increased $225,000 in 2020 and $250,000 next year. A state committee on pay recommended the raise for the governor, and the New York State Senate approved it.
In the meantime, the Empire State is now reportedly facing $59 billion worth of revenue shortfalls through 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
WBFO reports the state panel that evaluates salaries for Cuomo, members of the state Legislature and judges in New York recommended no raises for the next four years due to the state’s budget deficit, already $14 billion. The same Commission on Legislative, Judicial, & Executive Compensation declined to provide raises for state judges last year when the budget deficit was half what it is now.
“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 panel wrote in a new report 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.”
“Granting raises to public servants, no matter how much they might otherwise deserve them, is simply not possible at this time.”
The panel’s decision is binding unless the state Legislature passes a law approving or denying raises via a joint resolution by the state Senate and Assembly.
Cuomo has said services may be cut and taxes may increase if Congress doesn’t pass another coronavirus relief bill with aid for states and cities affected by the pandemic. He’s already deferred pay raises for 80,000 state government employees three times this year in an attempt to prevent furloughs or layoffs.
But Cuomo will still get his raise in January, along with Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, whose salary will be $220,000 in 2021 — up from $151,000 in 2018. The Post reports NYS Attorney General Letitia James and Comptroller Tom DiNapoli will also see their base pay raised at the start of the new year.