Monday, December 11, 2006

ELIOT'S PAY-HIKE TEST

Fred Dicker New York Post

I think Fred may be a little confused.......Eliot has not been sworn in as gov yet......how can Spitzer fail a test he is not allowed yet to take??? I love the Hevesi blackmail scenario that Fred plays out here as well...."If I'm going down...you all are coming with me"........andy

December 11, 2006 -- GOV.-ELECT Eliot Spitzer's clout with Democratic leaders of the lame-duck Legislature will be tested Wednesday when state lawmakers convene in hopes of raising their own salaries.
Democrat Spitzer has repeatedly declared his opposition to hiking the salaries of a Legislature that is often described as the most dysfunctional in the nation.
But the Legislature's most powerful Democrats, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver of Manhattan and Senate Minority Leader-elect Malcolm Smith of Queens, both endorsed a pay hike.
"This is the first real test for Eliot with the Legislature," a prominent Democrat said. "If he's really sincere in saying they don't deserve a pay hike until they get some reforms done, he's got to stop it now."
Gov. Pataki called the special session in hopes of winning approval of a measure to legalize the "civil confinement" of sexual predators whose prison terms are expiring.
Many lawmakers believe that Pataki, who has said he's against a pay raise, will trade the hike for approval of a civil-confinement bill and for a measure raising the number of charter schools in the state.
State law bars a sitting Legislature from raising its own pay, so lawmakers, whose terms expire at the end of the year, must get a pay raise on Jan. 1 or face not having a salary hike until January 2009 at the earliest.
New York's 212 lawmakers receive a base annual salary of $79,500.
They hope to raise that to at least $100,000 a year.
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State Comptroller Alan Hevesi has told associates he "has the goods" on several lawmakers for using state cars and other public resources for their personal benefit, senior officials said.
Hevesi, under criminal investigation in the wake of a state Ethics Commission finding that he broke the law by using a state worker as a chauffeur and companion for his wife, has come under criticism from Pataki, Spitzer and Attorney General-elect Andrew Cuomo.
But he has been vigorously defended by fellow Democrat Silver, and while Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R-Rensselaer) has said Hevesi should resign, he has muted his criticism since being publicly questioned last month on his possible use of a state-provided car and chauffeur to transport his family.
"A lot of lawmakers are nervous about what Hevesi may know about them," a senior state official said.

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