From the Morning Memo:

It’s been nearly 20 years since state lawmakers saw their last pay raise in New York, but the logjam could break this month pending the decision of a commission composed of current and former New York comptrollers.

But the pay raise itself has been tied up in politics for nearly a generation — a mechanism used to extract reforms from lawmakers and sharply opposed by voters.

Pay raises were last approved by Gov. George Pataki as lawmakers agreed to expand charter schools in New York and adopt a provision that they would not be paid if the state budget wasn’t finalized. The measure was meant to end budgets being approved after the April 1 start to the fiscal year, an intention that never really worked.

Since then, a potential boost in legislative pay has taken a backseat in Albany. Not helping the argument with the public was a steady drumbeat of corruption arrests of both rank-and-file lawmakers as well as top leaders in the state Senate and Assembly.

Nevertheless, legislative pay has remain a sore point for lawmakers especially in the New York City area, where many grapple with a higher cost of living. That was among the arguments made last week by Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie — a proponent of increasing legislative pay.

At the same time, the recent churn in the Legislature has been attributed in part to the higher pay on the New York City Council.

But the council has two reforms: Term limits and limits to outside income.

Heastie expressed a willingness to support changes to how much money lawmakers can earn in the private sector, though insisted nothing be linked to a pay hike.

The commission itself was sold publicly as a way of removing the politics from the decision making process itself of the pay increase. Previously, judicial compensation had been linked to legislative pay increases. The mechanism was decoupled with a judicial pay compensation board of its own.

When the pay commission last met, a parallel push was underway for a year-end special session that never materialized. No pay raise came.