Senate Passes Judicial Pay Increase Legislation

Martin J. Golden

December 14, 2007

State Senator Martin J. Golden (R-C, Brooklyn) joined the the New York State Senate yesterday in passing legislation (S.6550), sponsored by Senator John DeFrancisco (R-C-I-WF, Syracuse), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, that provides for increased compensation for judges and justices in New York State and establishes a commission to determine future salary increases and cost of living adjustments.

"Passing this bill is the right thing to do. The judges of this state have been without a pay raise for much too long," said Senator DeFrancisco. "The previous bill, which Judge Kaye proposed, passed the Senate but did not even reach the floor of the Assembly. Now with the passage of this bill, the Assembly has two judicial pay bills to choose from -- either of which would provide the judges with their long-awaited and much-deserved pay increase. Hopefully, the Assembly will finally act."

"The men and women behind the bench work extremely hard every day to ensure that justice is served and that the people of New York are represented fairly and treated equally before the law," said Senator Marty Golden. "Our judges and justices deserve no less from their elected officials, and today the Senate Majority is taking the first step toward providing them with the just compensation that rewards them for their outstanding service."

The bill appropriates $46,100,000 for the cost of the pay raise, which is implemented retroactively to January 1, 2007, and establishes a salary review commission to examine future increases and cost of living adjustments based on the needs of the judiciary and the state's ability to pay. State Supreme Court justices will now receive an annual salary equal to $165,200.

Judges last received a pay increase on January 1, 1999. While the cost of living has increased nearly 30 percent, the salary of New York State’s judiciary has lagged behind that of the federal court system as well as other states. The immediate increase is a necessary element to a continuing plan to compete for the services of highly qualified jurists. A cost-of-living component is also included, effective in 2008, to ensure that parity between the federal judiciary and the state judiciary continues.
The bill was sent to the Assembly.