Per Diem Abuse: Albany's Unending Corruption

Statement from Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I - Fishkill)

"In light of local news reports, it boggles the mind that a federal indictment for bribery of a downstate politician is what it takes to bring light to the abuse of per diems in the state legislature. On average, members, who are not pointedly breaking the law and requesting per diems out of malfeasance, receive upward of $19,000 a year in reimbursements."

"That averages over $4 million a year. How many children could receive a better education, receive meal assistance or have an after-school activity to go to if that money was spent on them instead of reimbursing politicians?"

"When I came to Albany, I promised voters that I would not take any food or lodging per diems or bloated leadership stipends. Politicians are living comfortably on the taxpayer dime when New Yorkers are struggling to make ends meet, to keep their business afloat, help their children get into college or put a meal on the family table each night. Per diems are not the only abuses of the taxpayer dollar in Albany. Legislators are part-time employees, yet, they make nearly twice as much when in Albany than the state’s average family at home."

"Over the last couple of years, legislators have been discussing legislative pay raises, but I have always said we need a legislative pay cut. It’s not popular to ask fellow legislators to consider cutting their own pay, but it is the right thing to do. Taxpayer money is not meant to line the pockets of politicians, it is meant to finance important programs that help people get by during the hard times, and help get them back on their feet."

"As I made it very clear before I came to Albany, we need to start serious discussions about removing ‘career’ politicians from the legislative equation. We need to cut legislators’ salaries by 10 percent, we need to get rid of leadership monetary perks and create term limits. Elected officials are here in Albany to do the people’s business, not set up shop for their own."