- Associated Press - Thursday, December 17, 2015

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Less than half of New York lawmakers receive income from work they do outside the Legislature, according to an analysis released Thursday by the government watchdog group Common Cause New York.

The analysis looked at financial disclosures from 183 state lawmakers elected before last year’s general election and found that 60 percent report no outside income at all.

Of the 40 percent who do, most are attorneys. Others reported modest incomes from part-time college teaching jobs or, in one case, playing piano at church.

Lawmakers’ outside income has become a key part of the debate over ways to stem the tide of corruption in New York state government. Common Cause Executive Director Susan Lerner said raising lawmakers’ base salary while banning all outside income could help prevent potential conflicts of interest and corruption.

Proposals to combat corruption are expected to be debated when the Legislature convenes next month to begin its 2016 session.

More than 30 lawmakers have left office since 2000 facing criminal charges or allegations of ethical misconduct. The latest two are former Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, and ex-Senate Leader Dean Skelos, a Long Island Republican. Both were convicted of federal corruption charges within the past month.

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