Silver says pension smoothing being ironed out

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Legislative leaders indicated last week that they plan to approve Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to let local governments and schools smooth out their pension costs.

Now Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, said he expects there will be changes to the bill that would mollify the concerns of state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who has questioned the measure.

“I don’t know them yet,” Silver said of expected changes to the bill. “I think we’re talking to the comptroller, the governor and both houses and trying to come up with a plan that gives some relief to local governments and is consistent with the comptroller’s fiduciary duty.”

DiNapoli and the Teacher’s Retirement System have yet to sign off on the proposal, which would let local governments and schools pay a flat rate for soaring pension costs over a 25-year period.

They would have to approve, as would the Legislature. Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner has railed against the proposal, saying it would hurt local budgets in future years.

But some local leaders, including the mayors of Rochester and Yonkers, said they would back the measure.

The Comptroller’s Office would only say that discussions are ongoing.

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