With Local Officials In Albany, Cuomo Urges Pension Reform

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Mayors and county executives this afternoon are planning a news conference to back Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s pension reforms, saying that the cost of pensions are crippling their budgets.

Led by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the group, New York Leaders for Pension Reform, includes the county executives from Westchester, Rockland, Monroe and Dutchess.

Cuomo told reporters today that he’s looking to save as much money as possible in a pension deal with the Legislature — even as he’s suggested earlier this week that he might be willing to move off his proposal to have a 401k-type system for new public employees.

But Cuomo said it has to include a new pension tier — despite some lawmakers’ contention that changes could be made within the current system, such as cracking down on pension abuses.

“Any resolution I seek will be a resolution that brings the maximum amount of savings. That’s what it’s about, right?” Cuomo said.

He said that pension costs for governments in New York went from $1 billion in 2002 to about $12 billion now, fueling higher property taxes.

“The tax burden is just crushing New Yorkers. So we can’t afford the increased cost of public pensions,” Cuomo said.

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