WOODBURY - Former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos filed for his pension less than two weeks after his conviction on corruption charges, and critics are calling for changes to a law that allows convicted lawmakers to collect their pensions.
Former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was also convicted this year on corruption charges, and both convicted felons are seeking their taxpayer-funded pensions.
"They want their pensions because they've worked all of those years, right?" asks Harriet Lubash, of Westbury. "Yeah, well, too bad."
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The pension payouts are estimated to be more than $90,000 a year each.
Pat Friedman, who is part of a taxpayers' watchdog group, Nassau County Non-Partisan Tax Revolt Coalition, says the moves by both disgraced lawmakers are outrageous.
"It's like robbing a bank and getting a reward," Friedman says.
But the state constitution guarantees retirement benefits, stating they "shall not be diminished or impaired."
The state Senate has tried to amend the constitution to force convicted state employees to forfeit their pensions, but the Assembly voted down the bill.
"Taxpayers shouldn't have to foot the bill for a convicted felon's retirement," says Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky, who was among the sponsors of the failed bill.