Tuesday, October 25, 2016

NY Gov. Cuomo on Ethics Reforms in 2017 Starts With Outside Income Reform

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that priority No. 1 when lawmakers return to Albany in January 2017 will be additional Ethics Reforms, specifically the limiting of outside income for State lawmakers.

“We’re going to go back to Albany, and we’re going to do the unfinished business this year and we’re going to start with real ethics reforms,” Cuomo said at a Long Island rally where he endorsed Democratic State Senate candidates Todd Kaminsky, who currently holds the 9th District seat, and Adam Haber, who is seeking the 7th District seat.

“And we’re going to start by reducing or eliminating the outside income. If you look at the problem that’s been recurring time and time again, it’s that too many legislators wear two hats. They go to Albany and they’re a legislator, and then they go home and they’re a business man or they’re a lawyer or they’re a consultant.”

Cuomo said the issue is that lawmakers get paid wearing both hats, which raises questions about whether an outside employer is paying a lawmaker as a private citizen working for the company or as a lawmaker they are seeking influence.

Notably, Cuomo also advocated for a pay raise for State lawmakers, coupling his support of a salary increase with his call for restrictions on outside income.

Cuomo hadn’t previously outright opposed or supported a raise, but he had been adamant that lawmakers must appear before a State Commission considering whether to recommend raises for Legislators so they could make their case in favor of a pay bump.

There also were rumors that he wouldn’t support a raise unless lawmaker agreed to more comprehensive Ethics Reforms.

Cuomo does not have any Statutory Authority over the State Commission on Legislative, Judicial, and Executive Compensation, nor do top State lawmakers.

But the panel is comprised of three Gubernatorial appointees, one appointee each of the Assembly Speaker and temporary Senate President, and two appointees of the State’s Chief Judge.

“You want a government that you can trust?” Cuomo said. “Eliminate the outside income; raise salaries so people get paid what they’re worth and they can live as an elected official. But let (the public) know that they have a government that they can trust.”

One Good-Government Advocate offered tepid support of Cuomo’s Call to Action.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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