State Senators Lose Money Temporarily, Taxpayers Permanently

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Photo: Everett Bogue; Photos: Getty Images, iStockphoto

With reservations, but under pressure from Governor Paterson, state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli will be withholding pay from the State Senate for the first time today, even though it's not clear he can legally do it. But who cares, because, like everybody else, he's had it up to here with these guys. So that's $3,000 that won't be going into each senator's bank account today. Except that as soon as this Senate impasse is over (which, as has often been the case, seems like it could be soon), they'll get their money back. In other words, it's not as if they are losing pay for this past month of farcical governing. It's just being delayed for a little bit. Meanwhile, taxpayers have lost plenty of their money, for good. First there's the extra $160 per diems and travel expenses that senators and their staff will eventually recoup for all these extra days of "work." And then there's the expensive lawyers that the Democratic conference has hired to deal with six different lawsuits. One is making $750 per hour, one is making $525 per hour, and another is getting $250 per hour. (Republicans are using in-house lawyers.) According to the Buffalo News, officials "have not yet determined who will pay the legal bills," but we could hazard a guess.

No paychecks for do-nothing Albany senators; DiNapoli order to hold paychecks takes effect [NYDN]
Both sides expect to break impasse in Senate [Buffalo News]