“Times are tough. People and businesses are making hard choices – and government had better do the same.”
Tough words from George Latimer, assemblyman representing the Sound Shore communities of Westchester, in light of New York State’s budget woes. Latimer backed up those words by making a voluntary decision to cut his take-home pay by 3%, effective with the new budget year beginning April 1st, and also announcing he will eliminate two positions out of five in his Assembly offices.
“Families are sitting at the kitchen table, struggling with their bills. I live with that reality personally, too. But elected officials need to prove they ‘get it.’ Every one of us in office has to show we’re willing to make sacrifices, too,” Latimer said.
Latimer announced that, effective April 1 – the start of the 2010-11 budget year – he would take a voluntary 3% pay cut, reflected in reducing his take-home check each pay period. Latimer receives only the legislative base salary of $79,500 per year; he holds no additional pay (often called “lu-lus”) for committee service or any position. He has also stopped any outside work to avoid perceived conflicts of interests. State legislative pay has been frozen since 1999.
Latimer also announced that two positions in his offices – one part-time post based in Mamaroneck, and one full-time post in Albany – would be eliminated. The part-time post elimination leaves two remaining part-time slots in Mamaroneck; the full-time post in Albany reduces his coverage there from 2 people to 1.
Latimer commented: “My office expenses – including salaries – is the lowest among all Westchester-based state legislators, but these actions will cut spending further. We will have to work harder and smarter – just like everybody else during this tough economy”.
Latimer – a 20 year veteran of service in major corporation subsidiaries (Nestle, ITT) – drew on his years of budget accountability in business. “I’ve been through this before in business; I’ve had to cut budgets, and deal with difficult personnel decisions. It’s never pretty. But it’s necessary.”