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SPITZER GIVES JUDGES 25% PAY RAISE ALBANY, N.Y. � Governor Eliot Spitzer Wednesday included over $111 million in his executive budget to provide all of New York judges with a pay raises retroactive to April 1, 2005. The bold and apparently unprecedented initiative of including a judicial pay raise in an executive budget would result in an average pay hike of about 25 percent for judges who have not had so much as a cost-of-living increase in eight years. Under the proposal, which mirrors one first advanced by Chief Judge Judith Kaye, the salaries of all judges would see an initial pay hike of roughly 23 percent. The remaining 2 percent would kick in April 1, assuming Congress approves a cost of living increase for federal judges. By including funds for a judicial pay hike in his budget, Spitzer dramatically alters the political landscape which for years has stood in the way of a judicial pay increase. Over the past eight years, lawmakers have passively denied judges a pay raise, partially because they traditionally give the judges an increase only as political cover when they raise their own pay. Despite the fact that lawmakers in both houses and from both parties are on record as strongly favoring a judicial pay increase, the issue has fallen by the wayside again and again. Although lawmakers have gone without a raise just as long as the judges, then Gov. George Pataki was unwilling to sign off on legislative pay hikes, and legislators lacked the will to risk a politically popular veto or politically devastating override. So, they did nothing.

New York Law Journal

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