New York State judges on track for salary increase for the first time since 2015

November 9, 2023 Robert Abruzzese, Courthouse Editor
The New York City Bar Association. Brooklyn Eagle file photo
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A state commission on Monday reached a unanimous preliminary decision to increase salaries for New York judges. 

The final details of the raise from the current $210,900 for Supreme Court justices are expected to be confirmed next week, following deliberations by the Commission on Legislative, Judicial & Executive Compensation at the New York City Bar Association.

This move comes as a stark contrast to the commission’s stance in 2019 when a raise was denied due to budgetary challenges faced by the state. The current commission, composed of appointees from various branches of government, indicated that a raise is justified despite New York’s continuing fiscal constraints.

Victor Kovner, appointed by Gov. Kathy Hochul and a former attorney for ex-Mayor David Dinkins, has examined pay rates among the state’s top law firms as part of the commission’s review process.

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New York’s Supreme Court judges, who are currently ranked ninth in salary nationwide, have not received a pay hike in eight years, as the last increase occurred in 2015.

The establishment of the Commission on Legislative, Judicial & Executive Compensation in 2015 set forth a mechanism for regular salary review every four years. Its recommendations become legally binding unless actively overridden by the Legislature.

In previous sessions, then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s appointees voiced opposition to a pay increase amidst immediate budget shortfalls and economic uncertainties. However, the recent commission’s alignment signals a more favorable outcome for judicial salaries, as noted in a report released by the commission, with a potential delay in the raise’s implementation to accommodate the state’s budgetary timeline.

The full details of the proposed salary adjustments and their implications for the state budget are anticipated to be a focal point in New York’s legislative discussions as the commission finalizes its decision.



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