Published in
The Empire

Local lawmakers' coalition hammers DiNapoli over pension reform

Local lawmakers think that Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is the one misinformed about pension reform.

A bipartisan coalition of local lawmakers that includes New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg are continuing to push for Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposed pension reform. And they're taking direct aim at the person seen as the biggest defender of the current pension fund system: Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

In a recent op-ed, you defended the status quo and criticized those who say that pensions are “unsustainable and unaffordable.” But we know first-hand that the facts on the ground run counter to your comments. Pension costs for New York’s localities and counties have grown by more than 630% over the last decade. These skyrocketing costs have meant less money for our schools, less money for our police departments, less money for job creation, and less money for social services. If pension costs are allowed to continue to grow – as they will in the absence meaningful reform now – the level of service cuts and tax increases that will be required to balance our local budgets in the future will be devastating. That outcome is unacceptable and entirely avoidable.

The letter is signed by the mayors of New York City, Syracuse and Jamestown, as well as the county executives of Westchester, Suffolk, Monroe, Onondaga and Oneida. In it, they argue the Governor's plan will save localities--including New York City--$79 billion over the next 30 years.

"To dismiss the importance of $79 billion in savings because it will be realized over time is simply not responsible," the letter says. "In the weeks ahead, there will undoubtedly be efforts by special interests to distort the facts and stop responsible and fair reform of our pension systems. We hope you will reject those efforts and instead be guided by the fiscal realities that local governments are facing."

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