Cuomo Threatens Government Shutdown Over Pension Reform

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo made clear that he won’t approve a state budget that doesn’t include pension reform, saying he would force lawmakers to either approve his plans in a budget extender or risk a government shutdown.

The threat was among Cuomo’s strongest yet this budget year that he wants a new pension tier in the 2012-13 budget, which takes effect April 1. The Legislature is expected today to release its own budget resolutions, but it won’t include Cuomo’s proposal for a less generous pension plan for new public employees.

Cuomo suggested he could include pension reform in a budget extender if a deal isn’t reached by April 1. In doing so, Cuomo would be using his greatest budget weapon — forcing lawmakers to either accept his budget deal or risk having the state run out of money to pay its bills.

“I said clearly if we don’t have pension reform, I’m not going to pass the budget. Period,” Cuomo said on 1300-AM (WGDJ) in Albany.

He added if lawmakers don’t agree to pension reform, “Then we’ll go the extender route. If they believe in their position that we don’t need pension reform, fine, bring it to a head. Let’s go extenders. You stand up and you make your case, and I’ll make my case and we’ll see who the people of the state of New York agree with.”

Senate Republicans and Assembly Democrats are planning to release their own budget amendments today, and some of their proposals will put them at odds with Cuomo.

Both sides propose to restore roughly $200 million in school aid, shifting money Cuomo wanted to make available to schools through a competitive grant program.

The Democratic-controlled Assembly is proposing to reduce to zero the income taxes for households earning less than $25,000 a year and increase aid to community colleges by 10 percent.

Senate Republicans are expected to propose a series of economic-development incentives.

Scott Reif, a spokesman for Senate Republicans, said the conference’s proposal doesn’t include pension reform, but, “There are ongoing discussions between all the parties on this. We are committed to achieving pension reform.”

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10 Comments

  1. just the facts on

    the republican controlled state senate should stand with the governor..either they
    are fiscally responsible or they are wholly owned subsidiaries of the same unions
    that have wrecked havoc on states all over the nation with their outsized pension
    and benefits

  2. Smartporpoise on

    This Democrat governor is smart enough to understand, at least on base level, the need for monetary corrections and pension reform if we are to ever to attain some semblance of stability and viability as a State of the Union. Even this proposal is just a nudging direction for the future, much like redirecting the course of an asteroid that, at present, promises to hit decades from now.

    Irresponsible fools in government – federal, State, and local, couldn’t care less. Any Republican who fights or ignores Cuomo on this modest proposal shows himself or herself to be an abject coward and a disgrace to the very people he has sworn to protect from catastrophe.

  3. If the government shuts down, I think that the governor will get a surprise response that he is not expecting!

  4. Surprise Response on

    What’s the response? A taxpayer uprising against the big-spending profligates who not only got us into this fiasco, but advocate its growth and continuance? He’s already threatened to go directly to the public and the reason is that he knows what their response will be.

  5. the consultant on

    if you don’t think that the governor is polling this issue you would be sorely underestimating
    his polling operation…the people of this state are fully behind the governors attempt
    to dig us out of the hole that both parties got us into by making deals with the unions
    in return for their political dollars and support…the jig is up…and as for a taxpayer uprising
    there has already been one across the state as municipality by muncipality finds that
    it is unable to meet its overly generous promises to the public sector unions…while those in the
    private sector are barely making it….we see police and fire personnel in some instances
    retiring on twice the highest salary they ever made because of abuse of the ovetime provisions
    iinserted in their contracts by the state legislature (both sides are complicit)…game is over

  6. Who’s pension does the Gov. want to reform? Not his own or the senate or the assembly or the judges or high ranking State Troopers? Who’s pension are we talking about? Please follow up with an answer/

  7. We’ll start with yours, if there are any abuses involved in it as the consultant lists. Then, we’ll move on to any and all to whom we have been, for far too long, far too generous, only to be bitten as we continuously deliver overflowing bowls.

  8. Just for the record: Tier 6 doesn’t do anything to reduce municipal costs. Next year’s pension bill will have no relief in it – because govts aren’t hiring new people, and Tier 6’s benefits come in 30 years when people newly hired next year retire!

    Andrew Cuomo is selling a state full of stupid people a series of bad ideas, and when he’s long gone from the scene we will be cleaning up the wreckage of his 78% popularity-of-the-moment.

  9. You’re right! We need a governor a lot tougher than he is who will get IMMEDIATE relief from all this money burning nonsense,

  10. just the facts on

    the answer is very simple…to the extent that government pensions are the result of gimmicks
    or special favors and to the extent that government workers are excused from paying
    the costs of their private sector counterparts..the rules should be changed …as for long
    term pension obligations..tier six will do nothing…neither will tier 5…the only way for municipalities to deal effective with the crippling problem is to declare bankruptcy and
    have a special master open up pensions now being paid out…and contracts containing
    gimmicks and modify all of them