Kaplan Backs Limits To Outside Income for Legislature

Nick Reisman

January 28, 2020

Originally published in State of Politics on January 28, 2020.

A measure that would restrict state lawmakers from earning outside income should be put into effect by the legislature itself, Democratic Sen. Anna Kaplan said on Monday.

Kaplan's support for the move comes after a state court blocked a pay commission's provision that capped the amount of outside income lawmakers earn at 15 percent of their legislative salaries. Lawmakers now earn $110,000 annually.

"As an elected official, I work for the people I represent — and no one else," she said. "Being a senator is a full-time job, and if you can't commit to doing the people's work on a full-time basis, you shouldn't be doing it at all."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has sought to encourage an outside income ban in the past, this month proposed a requirement that lawmakers disclose their tax returns each year.

The proposal would be moot if lawmakers backed limits to outside pay.

But Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie was tepid to the idea, pointing to the annual income public disclosure forms lawmakers must fill out and reveal income ranges from outside jobs and investments.

Cuomo, along with statewide elected officials including the comptroller, attorney general and lieutenant governor make their income tax filings available for review by the press every April as a matter of tradition. ​