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Liu, Yassky Clash in Final Comptroller Debate

Friday, September 25, 2009

In their last debate before Tuesday's runoff election, the two remaining candidates for the Democratic nomination for City Comptroller faced off last night. Councilmen David Yassky and John Liu were cordial, but they clashed sharply on issues from term-limits to each other's integrity.

On the issue of pension reform Liu said he wanted to do it through collective bargaining, and he disagreed with Yassky's support of a new pension tier under which new city employees would contribute more to their pension funds.

LIU: To imply that pension reform is needed right now because we've got a $5 billion budget deficit, that's just not being honest on the issue. The fact of the matter is that a new pension tier would take years, it wouldn't take nine months, it would take nine years, eight to ten years before making a dent in the city's budget.

REPORTER: Meanwhile, Liu called Yassky hypocritical for calling for an end to the City Council's discretionary funding system while giving out money through that system to groups in his district. Yassky said you've got to play by the rules as they are until they get changed.

YASSKY: I guess I think New Yorkers are smart enough to see through that. I think New Yorkers are smart enough to understand that I can say, "yes I want to make sure that the kids in Park Slope and seniors in Greenpoint are served," but then say we should change that process going forward.

REPORTER: In last week's four-way primary Liu came out ahead of Yassky by eight points.

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