Andrew Cuomo to Become Highest Paid US Governor in Country

April 1, 2019 Updated: April 1, 2019

Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is set to become the highest paid governor in the United States due to a pay hike approved by lawmakers in the Democrat-led Senate and Assembly.

Cuomo’s salary would gradually increase from the current $179,000 to $250,000 on Jan. 1. 2021, as part of the new state budget. Lawmakers approved the raise in a vote early on April 1.

The state’s new $175 billion budget includes a statewide ban on plastic bags and a new congestion pricing program to help combat the high-traffic areas in the city.

New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will also see a pay increase, going up from $151,500 to $220,000 in 2021.

Both pay raises were recommended by a state pay commission last year. It needed legislative approval first for it to be implemented.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio listens to questions from reporters in New York City on Nov. 13, 2018. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

It has been two decades since the governor and lieutenant governor have seen a salary increase. The last time was in 1999. Lawmakers also saw their first pay increase in nearly two decades in January, when their base salary went from $79,500 to $110,000. Their pay will ultimately rise to $130,000 by 2021.

The salary increase for Cuomo, a frequent critic of President Donald Trump, marks a stark difference to how the president handles his wage. Trump has donated all of his paychecks—$100,000 a quarter—since taking office.

In March, the most recent quarter’s paycheck of $100,000 was donated to the Department of Homeland Security.

Trump posted a picture of the check he wrote to the department, writing on Twitter: “While the press doesn’t like writing about it, nor do I need them to, I donate my yearly Presidential salary of $400,000.00 to different agencies throughout the year, this to Homeland Security.”

President Donald Trump speaks prior to awarding a posthumous Medal of Honor for US Army Staff Sergeant Travis Atkins during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington March 27, 2019. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

“If I didn’t do it there would be hell to pay from the FAKE NEWS MEDIA!” he added.

In January, Trump donated his salary from the third quarter of 2018 to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Manhattan’s Congestion Charge

The New York State legislature approved the new congestion pricing program for Manhattan on March 31 as part of the state’s budget. But the major details, such as how much drivers will have to pay and how it will be implemented, have not been hashed out yet.

The program is aimed at lessening the traffic in congested parts of Manhattan by charging drivers who are heading into the city—pushing drivers to reconsider using public transportation. New York City now joins other cities outside America who have already employed such a system, such as London, Stockholm, Milan, and Singapore.

Traffic moves on 2nd Avenue in the morning hours on March 15, 2019 in New York City. (JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

On March 31, Cuomo told reporters at a news conference that the toll would be set next year by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) once they have a capital plan established.

“Today we’ve gotten it done,” Cuomo said. “First state in the nation.”

The governor also described the traffic in Downstate New York as a “problem that is only getting worse.” His office did not respond to a request for comment by The Epoch Times.

Vehicles, including cars and trucks, would be tolled when they enter the congestion toll zone, a large area with more than 600,000 people. The zone would run from 60th Street, near the bottom of Central Park, all the way down to Manhattan’s southern tip.

The toll amount has yet to be determined, but earlier proposals have suggested a fee of around $12 per day for most drivers and up to $25 for trucks, with possible variations based on time of day and day of the week.

The Associated Press contributed to this report 

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