Cuomo’s Office Touts Local Support For Pension Plan

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With Albany playing host Monday to the so-called “Tin Cup Brigade” — mayors and other local officials who testify at a hearing on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposal — Cuomo’s office is touting the support of a few dozen local officials for his plan to smooth pension rates for New York governments.

Cuomo’s office amplified a joint statement endorsed by 38 local officials, praising the governor’s $136 billion budget proposal while singling out a plan to allow local governments to lock in a pension-contribution rate for a lengthy period of time — essentially allowing them to pay less than their current rate and more than their future rate.

“This plan gives us a common sense choice: establish a stable flat rate for pension payments for the next several years, allowing us to take advantage of Tier VI savings today, instead of having to wait years for them to kick in,” the statement reads. “This isn’t a one-size fits all top down mandate; it’s a choice that can help New York’s Counties save over $1.8 billion and Cities over $630 million over the next five years.”

The timing of the statement’s release likely is not coincidental. Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner — Cuomo’s hand-picked co-chair of the New York Democratic Party — has expressed reservation about the pension-smoothing proposal, reiterating her concerns after delivering her testimony earlier Monday.

The joint statement is signed by (mostly Democratic) officials from all over the state, including Westchester Board of Legislators Chairman (and county executive candidate) Ken Jenkins, Rochester Mayor Tom Richards, Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick and Elmira Mayor Susan Skidmore.

You can read the full statement after the jump.

“This year the Governor’s executive budget builds on the foundation of last year’s pension reform and state takeover of Medicaid increases, with a budget that reforms workers compensation, binding arbitration and implements many key recommendations from the Mandate Relief Council.

“On top of these reforms, which will save us hundreds of millions of dollars, the proposed executive budget gives localities the option to realize new and immediate savings on our pension obligations through a Tier VI savings plan. This plan gives us a common sense choice: establish a stable flat rate for pension payments for the next several years, allowing us to take advantage of Tier VI savings today, instead of having to wait years for them to kick in.

“This isn’t a one-size fits all top down mandate; it’s a choice that can help New York’s Counties save over $1.8 billion and Cities over $630 million over the next five years. Opponents that would deny our counties and cities the right to make this responsible choice would only continue the years of inaction we have seen from the State in the past.

“While there is more to be done, this budget proposal continues a real commitment by Albany to deliver real mandate relief to our local governments.

Nassau County County Executive Edward Mangano
Suffolk County Executive, Steve Bellone
Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney
Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings
Rochester Mayor Thomas Richards
Westchester County Board of Legislators Chairman Kenneth Jenkins
Glens Fall Mayor John Diamond
Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster
Rome Mayor Joe Fusco
Oswego Mayor Thomas Gillen
Oneonta Mayor Richard Miller
Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick
Utica Mayor Rob Palmieri
Hornell Mayor Shawn Hogan
Canandaigua Mayor Ellen Polimeni
Troy Mayor Lou Rosamilia
Elmira Mayor Susan Skidmore
Jamestown Mayor Samuel Teresi
Olean Mayor Linda Witte
Amsterdam Mayor Ann Thane
Fulton Mayor Ron Woodward
Norwich Mayor Joseph Maiurano
Johnstown Mayor Sarah Slingerland
Herkimer County Board of Legislators Minority Leader John Brezinski
Essex County Board of Supervisor Chairman Randy Douglas
Schenectady County Legislature Chairwoman Judith Dagostino
Franklin County Board of Legislators Chairman D. Billy Jones
Babylon Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer
Town of Cicero Town Supervisor Jim Corl
North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman
Olean Common Council President Ann McLaughlin
Town of DeWitt Town Supervisor Edward Michalenko
Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone
Southhampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst
Plattsburgh Town Supervisor Bernie Bassett
Village of Minoa Mayor Richard Donovan
Village of Cooperstown Mayor Jeff Katz
Patchogue Village Mayor Paul Pontieri”

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7 Comments

  1. North of the Hutch on

    Where’s Westchester? Only Jenkins thinks this is good?

    Oh that’s right, our delegation in Albany wouldn’t have passed Tier VI so they don’t favor this either.

    Thanks Amy, George, Andrea and Steve! Remember, we’re watching how you vote.

  2. For a few years you get to pay less than the full cost…Later on you get to make up the difference by paying more than the true cost. This sounds like a proposal that someone would make if they (1) were defensive about last year’s big change (Tier VI) not really addressing the major cost driver for local governments, (2) was taking a short term perspective on NY’s budget problems because that works well for his ambitious political time line, or (3) if he wants the poorly thought out local tax cap to work for a few more years before all of us come to understand what a frud tht proposal was. Most budget experts are very skeptical about pension smoothing schemes–but our Governor wants everyone to act like this is solution. Really like your new clothes Emperor Cuomo–nice outfit. Nobody in Government, or the media is going to tell the Emperor there is problem with his proposed solution. Many governments will go for this deal–but re citizens need to be smrt enough to rcognize pension smoothing for what it is–Pay ya later.

  3. Qualified Sure on

    Westchester presently does not have the smarts in the budget office to evaluate this proposal one way or the other.
    Astorino has packed the budget office in Westchester with hacks and politically connected people who have no qualified government experience and were either aides to politicians in Albany or resume fluffers who have ZERO government experience and surely NO experience with the New York State Employees’ Retirement System

  4. Memo to North of Hutch. Tier 6 is a joke. This pension smoothing malarkey is designed for Cuomo to say Tier 6 helped keep your pension costs down. We ARE watching and we can tell the diff between conservative “reform” and real change.

  5. North of the Hutch on

    What’s wrong with Tier VI?

    If anything it didn’t go far enough as state workers should get 401ks like the rest of the world, but its a start & a step in the right direction.

    What’s your plan?

  6. Qualified Sure on

    1:50 PM Keep posting from your county computer in the county office building….yet the truth still stings…401K are NOTHING plans that only benefit the money managers and the boss who gets richer and the workers has nothing in these plans in the rigged stock markets

    Many 401K participants in the USA have almost nothing or have borrowed from their “plans” because of the economy yet you say they are the solution…

    http://business.time.com/2013/01/23/cash-leaking-out-of-401k-plans-at-alarming-rate/