Astorino, Bloomberg and Co. Blast DiNapoli on Pension Reform

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Another day, another round of press statements on the ongoing battle over the merits of the state’s pension system.

Taking issue with Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s aggressive defense of the state’s current pension system, a group of county and city leaders pushed back against DiNapoli for having “defended the status quo.”

The group — NY Leaders For Pension Reform, launched by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg this week — criticized DiNapoli’s recent op-ed in the New York Daily News. In that piece, DiNapoli said the 401k-type option being pushed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo is a “false choice” and instead new state employees “would almost surely be steered toward choosing the (401k-type) plan.”

“In a recent op-ed, you defended the status quo and criticized those who say that pensions are ‘unsustainable and unaffordable,'” the group wrote today in a letter to DiNapoli. “But we know first-hand that the facts on the ground run counter to your comments.”

Among those who signed today’s letter include Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks and Bloomberg.

When the NY Leaders group launched, DiNapoli issued a statement saying “local officials may be misinformed if they believe that any proposed change to the pension system now will provide them with immediate budget relief.”

“It is also important that the costs to local governments for implementation be fully evaluated,” he said in the statement.

In today’s letter, the group touted Cuomo’s estimate that his proposal for a new pension tier — which would decrease employee benefits and offer the 401k-type option for new employees — would save $79 billion statewide over the next three decades.

“To dismiss the importance of $79 billion in savings because it will be realized over time is simply not responsible,” they wrote. “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.”

The full letter is below:

02 24 DiNapoli Pensions Final

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6 Comments

  1. the consultant on

    Di Napoli has demonstrated why he should not have been elected…to dismiss a budget
    savings of almost 80 billion dollars over any time frame is fiscally irresponsible..the fact
    that the savings are not “immediate” is a red herring that satisfies the public service
    unions who supported him for election over a far more qualified candidate…its the dinapoli
    methodology that got us into the hole we are in in the first place…make the promises
    to the unions..allow them to abuse the pension system..don’t require them to contribute
    to their health care and then…when the roof caves in…kick the can down the road

  2. DiNapoli: A union tool to whom the ignorant voter has given carte blanche to fleece the taxpayer. We deserve what we get.

  3. When people can”t climb up the ladder, it’s bad for the economy…Warren Buffet
    Taking money away from the middle class will not stimulate the economy which is what needs to be done if we are ever to climb out of the current recession. Taking money away from the middle class who are trying to get ahead will only create another class of “working poor”. What needs to be done is a good look at those retiring at salaries above their base pay. That’s what is sucking the life out of the pension system not your average union worker.

  4. When people “can’t climb up the ladder,” it’s usually because they’re too fat, too untalented, or too lazy. With government and greedy unions, their fat assets are in the way and they are pushed up the ladder, creating logjams and foul flatulence in the face of those behind them who have talent, work-ethic, and ambition.

  5. the consultant on

    its one thing to “climb” up the ladder its quite another to step on those in the private
    sectore who are also attempting to climb up the ladder because your unions have
    had inordinate influence on elected officials who make the rules…how else could you
    wind up with a public service employee who never made more than 85,000 a year
    retiring on 170,000 a year because the unions who made huge contributions to the
    campaigns of certain members of the senate and assembly had them insert overtime
    provisions in the contracts which allowed overtime to be counted in the last three years
    as part of the pension calculation…it is legalized theavery and something that could never
    happen in the private sector..so you are welcom to climb the ladder but not over the dead
    carcasses of those who work just as hard but don’t have municipal unions greasing the way

  6. average NYS worker on

    The defined pension benefit that state and local employees get averages less then $15,000/year. This is a fair pension. The folks who are racking up pension benefits of $200,000 + are either in the uniformed services (police and fire), work as a administrator at a school district, or a SUNY college. Cap the pension at a max of $100,000/year and don’t allow overtime to be averaged into the final three years on the payroll. Also require the employee to contribute 5% towards pension for each year they are employed. Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater DiNopli is correct in that the defined benefit plan is sound and allows “average” public employees a reasonable retirement. While you are at it how about making elected officials ineligible for pensions – they work only part time in the Assembly/Senate – The fact that New York State has the most disfunctional state government shows how hard they are working. Many NYS elected officials are in jail and more and more will be ending up there. Screwing future employees with 401K type program will just mean more retired average workers will be signing up for welfare as they age – they won’t have a choice.