Two cable TV providers have acceded to demands from lawyers for Sen. Bill Larkin’s re-election campaign to stop showing a commercial that accused the Cornwall-on-Hudson Republican of voting “to get a 47 percent raise,” an accusation they called “false and defamatory.”
Cablevision pulled the ad Monday morning, and Viamedia agreed that night to do the same, according to an email exchange forwarded by a spokesman for the Senate Republicans. The commercials were paid for by the Fund for Great Public Schools, which is the political action committee of New York State United Teachers, a union that has endorsed Larkin’s Democratic challenger, Chris Eachus.
The 47 percent raise referred to in the commercial is a figure suggested by a member of the appointed panel currently considering salary increases for state lawmakers and officials. That commission hasn’t approved raises yet. Larkin and other lawmakers voted for the budget bills last year that created the commission, but they did not vote on raising salaries and have no need to so, since the panel can award increases with no further action by the Legislature.
Update: Scott Reif, the Senate Republicans’ spokesman, said this of the commercial: “Colonel Larkin is a beloved Senator and war hero who was unfairly attacked in a television ad that has now been exposed as a lie. The truth is Senator Larkin opposes a pay raise.”
Both Larkin and Eachus, a Orange County legislator from New Windsor, have said they’re against any salary increase for legislators, although Eachus has gone a step further by promising to return to the state any amount over the current $79,5000 base salary that the New York State Commission on Legislative, Judicial and Executive Compensation decides to give. The commission, which is due to decide by Nov. 15, was supposed to hold a public hearing in New York City on Tuesday but canceled it, saying no legislators or others “directly impacted” by future raises wanted to testify.