- Associated Press - Thursday, February 18, 2016

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday that it is “insulting” that taxpayers have to pay for pensions for elected officials convicted of corruption and vowed to continue pushing for a constitutional amendment to end the practice.

The comments came after the state comptroller’s office said two former legislative leaders found guilty of corruption were getting pensions. Ex-Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ annual state pension is $95,831. Ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is getting $79,222.

“I believe 100 percent we should revoke the pension of any elected official who is found guilty of official corruption,” said Cuomo, a Democrat. “I think it is adding insult to injury that you can convict a person for violating the public trust and then the person continues to get paid by the public through a pension.”

A 2011 law allows a judge to strip the pension of elected officials found guilty of public corruption, but the law doesn’t apply to those who took office before 2011. It will require a change to the state constitution to make pension forfeiture retroactive.

Last year, the Senate and Assembly passed different versions of a pension forfeiture bill. Cuomo remains supportive of the Senate-backed plan, which didn’t get a vote in the Assembly after a state worker union objected out of concerns that it would apply to nonelected public employees.

More than 30 lawmakers have left office after convictions or allegations of ethical misconduct since 2000.

Skelos, a Long Island Republican, was convicted of using his influence to get his son no-show jobs with companies that had state interests.

Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, was convicted of taking kickbacks in a $5 million corruption case.

Both have asked for the convictions to be thrown out, arguing crimes weren’t proved.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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