Report: State Senate Staffers Got Fat Pay Raises

Democrats in the state senate have awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in raises to staffers despite a statewide fiscal crisis, according to a NY1 report.

Over 30 aides had their salaries increased since Democrats took back control of the state senate from Republicans for the first time in over 40 years.

State senators claim the new Democratic majority has meant new responsibilities for their staffs.

"Their level of responsibility has only increased since January 7, so because of that, they are compensated in line with what the previous Republican majority was paying its staffers for similar duties," Richard Azzopardi, a spokesman for Nassau County Senator Craig Johnson, told NY1.

The deputy chief of staff for Sen. Johnson got a 63 percent pay increase, from $47,500 in 2008 to $77,500 this year. Johnson recently became a committee chairman.

The chief of staff for Bronx Senator Jeff Klein got a 36 percent bump, from $55,000 in 2008 to $75,000 this year. Klein's is the new Senate deputy majority leader.

"My staff, you know, as well as I do, work 24/7," Klein told NY1. "Now I'm the deputy majority leader, the number two senator in the state, so they automatically assume more responsibility."

The number of staffers, committee aides and central staff has grown for Democratic senators as their duties have grown. Republicans are seeing their resources reduced from what they were when they held the majority.

Despite the pay increases, Democrats said they plan to cut the Senate's $100 million budget by 10 percent overall.

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