Colby Hamilton, Writer, WNYC News
Colby Hamilton is a general assignment reporter. He originally joined WNYC as a political blogger. He's a proud graduate of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's position on a major component of Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposed new Tier VI plan isn't a secret: he's been opposed to the idea from the start.
But today two business-backed groups took turns swinging at the Comptroller. The first was this statement from the Business Council's Heather Briccetti:
We are surprised and disappointed by Comptroller DiNapoli’s attacks on pension reform. When given an honest presentation of the facts there should be little dispute that a Tier VI plan is needed in New York. Pension costs are exploding at all levels of government across the state and we are rapidly approaching a tipping point. Taxpayers are already struggling under the burden of existing pension obligations, and the Tier VI proposal will avoid this in future years without taking benefits away from anyone currently in the pension system.
The second came as a statement from Unshackle Upstate--an upstate business-affiliated that focuses on economic reforms like taxes and, yes, pensions--via a spokesperson:
“The Comptroller is looking out for his own politics rather than the good of the state. What he is effectively saying is he'd prefer to subject the taxpayers of New York State to the volatility of the stock market, and our property taxes demonstrate how well that has been working, rather than back a reasonable plan that begins to lessen the risks assumed by the taxpayers.
The Comptroller fails to acknowledge that roughly 90 percent of the population of New York does not have a guaranteed retirement option. It is time he takes a step back and looks at what is best for all New Yorkers, not just a few. Someone should point that out the next time he runs for reelection.
What's interesting in this last one is that DiNapoli has brought up the issue of retirement security for folks outside of the pension system, calling for a commission to look into addressing the issue on a national scale.
"We need to put a retirement system in place that allows the middle class to retire in dignity and forestalls the profound future costs on government and individual taxpayers of providing food, housing and other support to millions of Americans--living well into their nineties--who simply don’t have enough to support themselves," DiNapoli said during a speech at the New School in December. "We must change the perception of pensions being viewed primarily as a liability and a cost to taxpayers to what they really are: a pre-funding of a legitimate, looming government liability and societal obligation."