Assemblyman John Ceretto, R-I-Lewiston, released this statement Tuesday:
"Yesterday Speaker Sheldon Silver endorsed the idea of a pay raise for the Legislature, with the condition that an on-time budget needs to be passed for the second straight year. The reasoning is that this would be proof of an end to the gridlock and dysfunction that has marked Albany politics for years. While it is true that progress has been made by the Legislature in regaining the trust of New Yorkers and ending the Capitol's negative perception, now is not the time for the topic of raises for legislators to even be broached.
"Speaking not only for my constituents, but for all of New York, economic times have been difficult. Far too many of the very people who elect us to the Legislature are out of work or just barely scraping by. It is preposterous and unfair for any politician to expect a pay raise while so much still needs to be done to create a better future for the people who pay our salaries.
"My job as an assemblyman is to serve the people who hired me to represent their interests, not to pad my wallet at their expense. Only in the past year have we made any substantive strides toward making New York state a better place for its residents. Capping property taxes and opening New York for business are only a start. The topic of a raise for the Legislature shouldn't even be seriously discussed until we do more to stimulate economic growth, development and opportunity.
"That is what the people of Niagara County elected me to office to do, not to collect a larger paycheck. As long as I am here representing so many constituents looking for better opportunities, I will vote against any raise for the Legislature and would encourage my colleagues to do the same."