YORKTOWN, N.Y. State Assembly member Steve Katz (R, Mohegan Lake) kicked off what he termed "a people's movement" Tuesday to reduce Albany's "wasteful spending habits."
Flanked by Yorktown Supervisor Michael Grace and Town Board member Terrence Murphy at Murphy's Restaurant in Yorktown, Katz outlined several steps to save $100 million per year, including shortening the legislative session by half and cutting legislator salaries from $79,500 to $35,000.
"This was never supposed to be a full-time job for anyone," said Katz, an assemblyman for the past 19 months who is seeking re-election in November. "This is a part-time job and should be taken as such. Someone has to tell the truth about what we see in New York state."
Katz, a veterinarian with a practice in the Bronx, said that several months of the year legislators barely work two hours a day and that most of the bills proposed "are an embarrassment to all of us."
"Home rule bills are a disgrace to every taxpayer in the state," he said. "It has gone haywire. We have much too much government and much too much regulations because legislators have to justify their existence."
Katz is co-sponsoring a bill that would reduce the number of days the Assembly stays in session from 66 to 35 days, which he estimated would save the state $150 million annually. He is also opposed to a proposal to raise legislators' salaries to $100,000, although he said he wasn't sure if he would accept the raise if it were approved.
Grace and Murphy applauded Katz for his efforts to rein in spending in state government.
"Even on a local level it's important that we see state government come under control," Grace said. "In local government, this is not what happens. We look at the fiscal impact of everything."