Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino urged Gov. Andrew Cuomo to keep pushing for a 401k-type option for new public workers in his pension reforms, saying it is an option that public employees should have.
“I think the governor was right to include that in the package to give workers a choice, and I hope he stands firm on that,” Astorino told reporters after a news conference today with local officials to support Cuomo’s pension proposal. “I think that’s an option going forward that we need to start doing.”
Cuomo has pushed for a 401k-type option, but indicated earlier in the week that’s he flexible on his plan — like Gumby. He has indicated that the option would only be a small portion of the savings, yet has drawn the most criticism.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wouldn’t opine on whether the 401k option is critical to pension reform, but did say that the days of having defined benefit plans in the private sector are over.
Still, Astorino, the Republican county executive who is viewed as a potential GOP rival to Cuomo in 2014, said a 401k option is reasonable, and he would encourage lawmakers today at the Capitol to support it.
Astorino was joined at the news conference by county executives and mayors from across the state, including Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks, Rochester Mayor Thomas Richards and White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach.
“We’ve got to be bold now. We got to not tinker around the edges. The problems are too big for us to pretend they don’t exist,” Astorino said. “I’m going to hold firm that they should have defined contributions. It’s an option for future workers. It does not change anyone’s status today.”