Although the commission has another four months to make a formal recommendation, the proposal on the table calls for raising that base pay to $116,900 annually. Unless the Legislature returns to Albany for a special session to stop it – an unlikely scenario – the raises take effect next year.

When you consider inflation and the fact that other state employees, including judges, have seen their salaries rise over the years, it would seem only fair that members of the Legislature get some kind of pay increase. Still, the notion of lawmakers just sitting back and letting their hefty raises go through is a bit hard to swallow. It’s especially unsettling when you consider that just this year both the former leaders of the Assembly and the Senate were sentenced to prison terms after being convicted of felonies committed while they were in office. The two are among 29 state lawmakers convicted of various offenses in the past dozen years.

Lawmakers should do the right thing and reject any recommended increases until they demonstrate they are worthy of the raises by passing meaningful reforms aimed at cleaning up Albany.

Whatever happened to the idea that raises in pay should be earned?

Michael Benjamin