AFL-CIO: Didn’t We Already Do Pension Reform?

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Following Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s comments to the New York Times that pension reform is his next big task in 2012, AFL-CIO president Denis Hughes is asking why.

The state pension fund today reported a 14.6 percent rate of return, so everything is good, Hughes surmised. Also, unions agreed two years ago to a new pension tier that had less generous benefits for new employees.

“It is interesting to note that on the same day the media is reporting that Governor Cuomo has made limiting retirement benefits for new state and city workers his top priority next year, it has also been announced that the Common Retirement Fund achieved a 14.6% rate of return for the 2010-2011 fiscal year,” Hughes said in a statement.

“At the very least, this certainly calls into question the need for so-called “pension reform”. It also begs the question: Why do middle class working men and women, particularly public employees, continue to be targeted for sacrifice, in light of the fact that a new pension tier, Tier V, was signed into law less than two years ago?”

Pension costs for state and local governments, though, will increase by 37 percent in 2012. The contribution rates are growing from 11.9 percent of a municipality’s total salary to 16.3 percent in 2012.

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