Cuomo reworks pitch for new pension tier

Monday, February 27, 2012 - 05:28 PM

By Karen DeWitt, New York State Public Radio Capital Bureau Chief

  (Courtesy of the Governor's office.)

Governor Andrew Cuomo took a step back from his proposal to give new state workers the option of defined contribution 401(k) plan Monday, but the governor says without pension reform, local governments in New York could end up “bankrupt”.

Cuomo told a receptive audience of mayors from around the state that New York’s current pension system is unsustainable and must be changed for future hires.

“If we do not do this, we could literally bankrupt the state of New york,” Cuomo said.

The governor, in his budget proposal, wants a new benefit tier that offers a reduced public pension or a 401k style plan, but he says he’s flexible like “Gumby” on that.

“I’m not saying that ‘this is my plan, you know, it’s my way or the highway’,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo says if lawmakers offer an alternative plan that saves as much money as his plan, then he’s open to talks. The governor says his plan will save $113 billion dollars over future decades.

A spokesman for the state’s largest public workers union, the Civil Service Employees Association, says even without the 401(k) option, Cuomo’s proposed Tier VI benefit plan is too meager.

“The Tier 6 plan represents a 40 percent reduction in benefits, with or without options," CSEA’s Steven Madarasz said in a statement. "That is all about corporate CEOs  driving an agenda that tells future nurses, school bus drivers, highway workers and others to give up hope of  future security."


More in:

Comments [3]

Larry Littlefield

 “That is all about corporate CEOs  driving an agenda that tells future nurses, school bus drivers, highway workers and others to give up hope of  future security.”

Here is the big lie.  It isn't just CEOs with that agenda.  It is current nurses, school bus drivers, highway workers and other public employees and retirees.  Let's say there is a store or service establishment that provides worse products and service at higher prices, but also provides its employees one year in retirement for each year worked with unlimited health care.  Would these proud union members shop there?

No!  Because THEY have a choice.  They "vote" for lower retirement benefits, diminished health benefits, and lower pay for other workers every time they go shopping.  Every time.

Like those CEOs, and older generations in general, those unions have to face up to the fact that  they have been working politically every day to provide less to other New Yorkers in exchange for more, while seeking more in exchange for less in exchange.  And like those other groups, they have succeeded to the point where it is a clear social injustice, one that if nothing else they should be forced to admit.

Feb. 28 2012 01:52 PM
Larry Littlefield

How about a pro-union pension reform that reflects the values of the state legislators.

Future employees have to contribute 20% of their pay to the pension plans, and have to work 35 years before retiring at age 70.  Their contributions must be left with the plan after one year.  There is no option not to join, and no 401K option.  However, since this would make public employees "underpaid," they would not be expected to provide public services.

Since the only a small share of the future employee pension contributions would be needed for their own benefits, existing retirees would get a $2,000 pension bonus and existing workers would get a rich pension "incentive" to retire even earlier.  Consistent with all the unfunded retroactive pension improvements Generation Greed has granted itself in the past.

So why won't anyone state simply that "because of what older generations have taken and not paid for, because they have been selfish and entitled, future residents of New York State will be worse off in every way?"  Why not tell the truth?

Feb. 28 2012 01:47 PM
VJ Machiavelli

We need a 21st Century Pension plan one that has a 401K option

Andrew "Cesare" Cuomo don't settle for anything less

Before there was the "Oracle of Delphi" there was Count Vampire J. Machiavelli

VJ Machiavelli
Power to the People who "VOTE"

Feb. 28 2012 01:10 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.


"The Capitol Pressroom" with Susan Arbetter at 11 am

For show archives, please visit The Capitol Bureau's website here.

About The Empire

Everything you need to know about New York politics and governance. We aim for a ground-up approach to politics, reverse engineered to make the effect just as important as the players and the game they play. From the Long Island to The Thousand Islands, New York City Hall to the Capitol Building, The Empire's got you covered.

Check out WNYC's 2013 Mayor Tracker--the one-stop shop for info about the candidates, issues and trends in the upcoming New York City mayoral election.


Our Reporters


Supported by