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      Top dollar for top talent or taxpayer burden?

      New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is making a case to raise his staff's pay as the Assembly considers raises for lawmakers and shortly after he froze wages of union workers.

      Cuomo said "at some point" his commissioners, who pull down six-figure salaries, and staff need raises so state government can attract and retain top talent. He said Thursday that he knows of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's continued support for pay raises if the Legislature stays on the effective course it started last year, but Cuomo said there haven't been serious discussions.

      He also told reporters Wednesday he was aware of the Assembly Democrats' suggestion to raise lawmakers' pay, but he hasn't had "serious" discussions.

      Lawmakers' pay raises are usually tied to raises for the governor's staff and judges, who already reserved funding for their raises.

      Discussion of pay raises that have been rejected for a decade because of voter anger toward Albany's dysfunction, spending and taxing. It comes now as Cuomo exacted wage freezes from unionized workers.

      "That's why we're not talking about," said Cuomo, whose $179,000 salary is fixed by law. "It is an issue we have to deal with sooner or later," Cuomo said of raises in the executive branch.

      "I really think anyone in government today who is thinking about pay raises have their priorities mixed up," said state Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long, the longest serving party leader in New York. He said the governor and the Legislature should enact major, long standing reforms to ease the burden on taxpayers, such as curbing public pensions, shrinking government and relieving local governments of unfunded state mandated programs.

      In the past, most pay raises have come in election years - like this one - but after the November elections.

      What do you think? Should Cuomo's staff get a raise?