Attracting fresh talent. It’s a full-time job to already. Going 20 years without a pay increase would make anyone mad.

Those are arguments that have been advanced over the years by state lawmakers who have pushed unsuccessfully for a salary hike.

And those are arguments that have a sympathetic ear from the four-man panel that is considering whether lawmakers should receive a compensation bump, their first since 1998.

“There is a lot of emotion attached to this and we’re just trying to do the right thing,” said New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer. “I’d like to think this commission can throw away the last 20 years and start fresh.”

The panel, composed of Stringer, former New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson, former state Comptroller Carl McCall and Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, met for just under an hour on Wednesday in Albany for the second of three public hearings assessing pay for lawmakers, cabinet commissioners and department chiefs as well as statewide elected officials.

Three of four — Stringer, DiNapoli and McCall — have served in the state Assembly and Senate, where they remain popular figures.

Lawmakers in New York earn a base pay of $79,500, though many earn more with legislative stipends known as lulus for committee posts and leadership jobs. The base salary ranks third among state legislatures, behind California and Pennsylvania.

The median household income in New York is $62,909.

But state lawmakers are also paid less than those who serve on the term-limited New York City Council, a disparity that some have pointed to amid the recent churn in the Legislature.

The pay panel was devised as a way to remove the issue from the plates of lawmakers and the governor. But lawmakers became incensed when Cuomo sought to link the previous iteration of the pay panel to holding a special session that never materialized and talk of a salary increase was tabled.

Cuomo in recent weeks has said lawmakers should curb their outside income from private sector jobs, a move that has in the past received a lukewarm response from the Legislature.

“It’s my point of view that’s an appropriate reform,” DiNapoli said. “The extent to which this committee has the ability to impose something like that I think is open to question, but it’s something that should have been done a long time ago.”

Cuomo has also long spoken of the need to increase salaries for department heads, which are set by statute. Many cabinet-level departments are now led by executive deputy commissioners in part because holding a commissioner title would mean a step down in pay.

That concern, too, has drawn sympathy from the panel.

“It’s very difficult to attract talent and you need talented people to carry out the significant responsibilities that fall on public officials in New York,” McCall said. “I think there’s a consensus there should be an increase for commissioners.”

A determination from the pay commission is expected in December.