Gov. Cuomo pushes ethics reform plans in Albany

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's push to reform ethics among state lawmakers includes limiting their outside income. Under the governor’s proposal, a legislator could earn a maximum

News 12 Long Island's Doug Geed reports that one aspect is limiting how much money state legislators can earn outside of their jobs as lawmakers.

News 12 Long Island's Doug Geed reports that one aspect is limiting how much money state legislators can earn outside of their jobs as lawmakers. (1/18/16)

ALBANY - Gov. Andrew Cuomo's push to reform ethics among state lawmakers includes limiting their outside income.

Under the governor’s proposal, a legislator could earn a maximum of 15 percent of his income from outside sources. The base pay for state legislators is $79,500, which would have an additional-income cap of $11,925.

Supporters say if legislators have lucrative, high-paying jobs on the side, they might be tempted to focus more on them and less on their jobs as elected officials.

The proposal faces stiff opposition in the Republican-led state Senate.

Majority Leader John Flanagan, of Northport, says as long as outside incomes are made public, he doesn't see any conflict of interest.

"If someone's a pharmacist, someone's a college professor, or someone's a small business owner, we have a bevy of people in our conference who are better legislators, better elected officials, because of their outside experience," Flanagan says.

Others point out that many state lawmakers are attorneys, who have lucrative law practices on the side, and may be reluctant to pass a vote that would give up that income.

The ethics push comes in the wake of felony convictions for two long-serving, powerful state lawmakers -- Dean Skelos, the Rockville Centre Republican who was the state Senate's majority leader, and Sheldon Silver, the former Democratic speaker of the state Assembly.

Another ethics proposal under consideration in Albany would revoke the pension of any elected official convicted of political corruption. News 12 has previously reported that both Skelos and Silver applied for their pensions after their convictions.

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