Comptroller Says Pension Fund Contributions Could Ease Soon

New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said there may be a glimmer of hope soon for fiscally-strapped cities. He said it's possible that local governments' pension payment obligations could be declining.

DiNapoli said a report on local governments' contributions to the state's pension fund is due out at the end of the summer. He said he hopes that because of the strong stock market, there will be a leveling off, or even a decrease in the pension contribution rates for localities.

"In the not-too-distant future we'll see stability and even a decrease in the contribution rates," DiNapoli said.

The growing rate of pension contributions has been plaguing financially-challenged local governments.

The comptroller, as well as Governor Andrew Cuomo and the legislature, have all approved a plan to allow local governments to even out pension payments over a longer period of time. They can borrow against the state's pension fund to make lower payments now, but higher ones later. DiNapoli said he doesn't know yet how many local governments will take advantage of the option, but expects the number to be small. School districts have also been offered the plan, but most are not signing up.