Doesn't it seem as though every time you open a newspaper, there's another New York State government official taking advantage of the system to benefit personally? First, it was Sen. Pedro Espada holding up the taxpayers' business for five weeks while he negotiated a patronage job for his son. Now, it's a handful of state legislators who are "retired," but continue to hold office and, as a result, are collecting not only their salary, but their pension.
Today, Unshackle Upstate called for the state legislature to undo the loophole that allows this "double-dipping" to take place. In truth, the loophole was actually closed in 1995 for anyone elected after that year, but currently there are about 50 legislators that are still eligible - or soon will be. We want the loophole closed completely.
There's an ironic story that goes along here... Today we received a notice from the NYS Commission on Public Integrity that we were being fined for our quarterly lobbying expense report being filed late. Truth is, we tried a number of times to file well in advance of the deadline, but the Commission's web site was down. We ended up faxing it in (yay, technology!), albeit late. Nonetheless, NYS government is seriously on top of things when it comes to public integrity.
Problem is, when we think of public integrity violations, we think that sitting state legislators collecting their state pension on top of their state salaries is a little more egregious. Maybe it'd be better to start there.