Call it a “perk of privilege”, CBS6 News has learned that NYS Senators and Assembly Members park for free at the Empire State Plaza, while their constituents who park right alongside them are forced to pay for their parking.
257 parking spots are reserved in the ESP garage for state lawmakers and some top staff. Those reserved spots cost state workers about 107 every month, but lawmakers pay nothing – their tab is covered by the Senate and Assembly budgets, with money that comes directly from NYS taxpayers.
Many of the lawmakers we talked to said they didn’t even realize that they’re parking for free while everyone else is paying.
Some of them call it a “much needed perk”, and others point out that lawmakers haven’t had a pay raise in nearly 20 years. Most lawmakers make nearly $90,000 a year in salary and stipends, while the average state worker paying for parking makes about $60,000 a year.
All told the cost of those 257 parking spots is about $360,000 a year – all of it taxpayer money.