AUGUST 19, 2009
A costly double-dipping policy allows New York state lawmakers to simultaneously collect their lucrative government salary and pension for the same job without even telling constituents.
The longtime rule allows veteran state lawmakers to enter a sort of bogus retirement at 65 that allows them to start collecting a pension without actually quitting their job, giving up their legislative salary or notifying the public. A news report reveals that four Democratic legislators benefitted from the scandalous system last year alone.
In one case, an assemblyman “retired” but remained on the state payroll earning his $101,500 annual legislative salary while collecting a pension of about $72,000. An assemblywoman kept her $104,500 salary while adding a $71,000 pension and another assemblyman kept his $94,500 annual salary while adding a pension of about $73,000. The last lawmaker to benefit from the double dipping rule last year, yet another assemblyman, added a $66,000 annual pension to his $101,500 salary.
Double dipping legislators are simply the latest to be exposed in a widespread pension corruption scandal that has rocked the Empire State in recent years. Questionable pension perks have for years been rampant in state and local governments throughout New York with hundreds of public workers obtaining special waivers that allow them to return to their jobs—and keep their full pensions—after supposedly retiring.
State and local elected officials need no such waivers and can automatically double dip at age 65. In an effort to correct the system, the legislature changed the law to prevent those elected after 1995 from double dipping but left serious loopholes that are regularly utilized to skirt the rule.
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