Editorial: Part Time Work Worsens NJ Legislature’s Pay to Play Culture, Time to Make Full Time

Auburn Pub; “Despite all that, there’s a valid argument for saying that it may time to adjust state lawmaker base pay. They last got a raise in 1999, and if we’re looking to get the best and brightest people interested in this form of public service, it could be time for an adjustment.

‘With this chatter about a raise, there have also been suggestions about trade-offs. Legislators may get a raise if they agree to increase minimum wage or if they agree to adjust other state executive branch leadership salaries.

“We’re against such horse trading because there’s really a much more important compromise lawmakers should be making if they want greater paychecks from the taxpayers. They should be giving up their outside income and agree to make the job of state legislator officially a full-time job.

‘The much-maligned Moreland Commission that was created by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to explore government corruption did hit on at least one major problem with Albany. The conflicts created by the outside income elected lawmakers take in are a huge driver of the ‘pay to play’ culture in the state Capitol.

“The New York Public Interest Research Group did an analysis of financial disclosure forms and found that in 2012, state lawmakers had median income of $137,000 to $172,000. And many of the sources of that income had some form of business, direct or indirect, with the state.”

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