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Court strikes down outside income cap for lawmakers

A state Supreme Court ruling issued Friday found a commission examining legislative and executive branch pay exceeded its authority when it recommended a cap on outside income and also may put in doubt the legality of future pay increases for the Legislature.

The decision by Supreme Court Justice Christina Ryba keeps the pay raise intact for lawmakers that went into effect in January as well as the panel’s determination that leadership stipends or “lulus” be scaled back to only a handful of posts.

The ruling, issued in case backed by a conservative-leaning legal group, comes as several state lawmakers have challenged the findings of the pay commission.

The panel in December backed a phased-in pay increase for state lawmakers as well as members of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s cabinet and statewide elected officials in New York. But the recommendations, made into law when lawmakers chose not to act legislatively, capped outside income at 15 percent of their public-sector pay.

Lawmakers’ salaries were due to grow to $130,000 in the coming years and currently stands at $110,000. Lawmakers received their first pay increase in 20 years in January, a boost from $79,500. The ruling may put in doubt the legality of the future phased-in hikes in pay for the Legislature.

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