Keep the Change

Monday, March 21st, 2011
One state senator wants to stop giving legislators lulus

by Jason Chura

With the recent Federal corruption charges leveled against Sen. Carl Kruger and Assemblyman William Boyland, renewed calls for ethics reform are sure to come.

Sen. Liz Krueger was a bit ahead of the game. In an opinion piece that originally appeared in the New York Daily News on Feb. 18, Krueger called for an end to a common practice in state government: what she terms the “buying and selling of legislator’s loyalty” through stipends attached to appointed positions, or “lulus.”

A “lulu” is bonus compensation dispensed at the whim of party leadership for serving as the chair or ranker (ranking member of the minority) on a special legislative committee. Stipends range from $9,000 to more than $30,000 depending on the significance of the committee and the position held. Though some senators hold multiple committee chair positions, only the highest stipend is paid out. The base salary for a New York state senator or assemblyman is $79,500.

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