Albany’s “Night of the Living Deals” included the passage of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s pension reform plan for public employees. Both the governor and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, perhaps the most high profile supporter of Tier VI, released statements praising the passage of the proposal.
“This bold and transformational pension reform plan is a historic win for New York taxpayers and municipalities that will save more than $80 billion over the next 30 years, while preserving retirement security for public workers. Without this critical reform, New Yorkers would have seen significant tax increases, as well as layoffs to teachers, firefighters and police,” Mr. Cuomo said.
Mayor Bloomberg, who led a public push for the plan in the past week, praised Governor Cuomo and the leaders of the Legislature for passing pension reform. The Republican-controlled State Senate included pension reform in their budget, but prior to last night, the Assembly did not.
“Governor Cuomo has shown extraordinary resolve and deserves an enormous amount of credit for taking on this challenge. Senate Majority Leader Skelos, Assembly Speaker Silver and Assembly Minority Leader Kolb also deserve real credit for stepping up and meeting the challenge. This agreement – which many predicted would never happen – will provide long-term savings that will allow New York City and State to invest in our future and ensure that our best days are still ahead,” Mr. Bloomberg said.
The new Tier VI pensions will not affect existing public employees. For new workers, the plan will result in the retirement age being raised to 63, some increased pension contributions, limits in the number of sick and leave days that can be counted toward retirement service credit and adjustments to the pension multiplier and final average salary calculation. Tier VI also limits the number of different jobs that can be counted toward a pension to two and includes a 401(k) type option. Workers who make more than the $179,000 the governor earns will not be able to count the portion of their salary above that amount toward their pension. All of these changes are designed to stop rapidly growing pension fund costs.
Unions have vigorously opposed the governor’s pension reform proposal. CSEA President Danny Donohue, who’s currently mounting a campaign to lead the New York chapter of AFSCME, released a statement of his own blasting the pension reform agreement.
“Tier 6 shoved down the throat of state legislators fixated on their own self-preservation, will be devastating to 99 percent of New Yorkers,” Mr. Donohue said. “This deal is about politicians standing with the 1 percent – the wealthiest New Yorkers – to give them a better break while telling nurses, bus drivers, teachers, secretaries, and laborers to put up and shut up.”