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: