Battle Lines Drawn Between N.Y. Government, Public Workers Over Pension Reform

Bloomberg Joins The Fray, Arming Gov. Cuomo In Albany Bare-Knuckle Fight

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The intense battle raging in Albany to reform public worker pensions was joined Tuesday by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and a bipartisan coalition of local officials who say pensions are choking their budgets and must be slashed.

There is no more dramatic example of the effect of ballooning pension costs than the fact that Nassau County is being force to close four out of its eight police precincts, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that’s just the beginning, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

“Cities and counties in this state could go bankrupt,” Cuomo said Tuesday.

And nobody knows that better than Mayor Bloomberg.

“We are all facing a ticking time bomb,” he said.

The mayor, who is leading the coalition of local officials to push the Legislature to pass pension reform, said that the current $8 billion pension tab for New York City workers eats up the entire amount collected in city income taxes, and it will get even bigger unless there are pension changes for new workers.

“Over the past decade pension costs have increased more than 600 percent in New York City. In Nassau county pensions have increased 865 percent. In Suffolk the growth has been 904 percent,” Bloomberg said.

And think about this: what if the cost of a Long Island Rail Road ticket increased at the same rate as pension costs?

“The price of a one-way ticket from Huntington to Penn Station, which is now $13.50 at rush hour, would be $125,” Bloomberg said.

Under the plan being pushed by the governor and mayor all new employees would:

* Pay a little more into their own pension plans

* Have the option of a 401K plan

* Retire at 65 instead of 55

* Be unable to pad their pensions by working overtime

The public employees unions are vehemently opposing the plan, making their arguments with radio ads like the one being run by the New York City Correction officers.

“They’re trying to force us to accept a 401K plan that failed on Wall Street not more than two years ago. We will not sit idly by and allow the governor, the mayor, the legislators or anyone else to take away our right that we have fought for and deserve,” the ad says.

Pension reform, which affects only new hires, would save the city $30 billion over 30 years. Statewide, it would save $80 billion.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below …

Comments

One Comment

  1. VY says:

    This is probably the most important of the above reforms that will do the most to stop pension abuse:

    * Be unable to pad their pensions by working overtime

  2. VY says:

    Move the retirement age to 62 or 65 for non-physical workers (office workers).
    A worker can retire earlier, but won’t collect the pension monthly cash payouts until those ages.

  3. VY says:

    Pensios should be based on the last year’s BASE pay, plus an average of overtime worked by that worker throughout his/her ENTIRE career, NOT THE LAST YEAR’S OVERTME.
    That will stop the abuse of jerking up a pension with all the overtime piled into the last year of employment, then basing the pension on the last year’s total earnings including all that extra ovetime.
    If someone worked an average ovetrime of 10% above their base thoughout their entire career, then the pension should be the base plus 10%.

  4. None Of Your Business says:

    The taxed-to-death, bankrupt middle class (do we have a middle class any more?) can no longer afford to provide government employees with Queen Elizabeth’s lifestyle.

  5. Dr meh says:

    First bloomberg gave unions big raises to win his second term so he is a hypocrite.

    Cuomo did nothing in the AIG office and got a free ride to Albany. The AIG office is a demoralized underpaid group of attorneys that live in the outer boroughs.

    You can take any examples of union pension abuse to make the public angry but the majority of pension employees are underpaid and do the job and their pensions will allow them to eck out the rest of their lives in retirement in coney island or some hovel in queens, Bronx or Brooklyn.

  6. Ted says:

    Actually he wants to take it away because the real working class can no longer afford to support the “middle class” the media portrays. It takes more an a million dollars to generate $50k per year in pension income. For police and firefighters, they collect for more years than they work. It is not sustainable and needs to end. I need a chance to save for my own retirement, not be taxed to death to pay for the retirement of someone I am neither friends with or related to.

  7. Stan says:

    IF YOU KEEP DIGGING INTO THE WORKERS BENEFITS AND MAKING THEM PAY MORE TO RECEIVE LESS, YOU MIGHT JUST GET RID OF ALL THE UNION WORKERS AND REPLACE THEM WITH IMMIGRANTS BECAUSE NO PERSON WITH HALF A BRAIN IS GOING TO WANT THESE JOBS. THEN YOU DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT BENEFITS, JUST HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT HOW MUCH MONEY IS BEING SENT BE TO THEIR COUNTRY. JUST KEEP BAILLING OUT THE BANKS AND WALL STREET WITH TAXPAYER MONEY, SOON WE WON’T HAVE ANY MONEY TO SHIP TO FOREIGN COUNTRIES SO THEY CAN COME AND PLANT BOMBS HERE 20 YEARS FROM NOW. TIME TO LEAVE THIS FUTURE THIRD WORLD COUNTRY AND MOVE TO SOUTH AMERICA.

  8. dyinglikeflies says:

    Some reform for future workers is justified, since 55 is no longer a reasonable retirement age because we all live much longer. But 40% reduction in benefits is too much-salaries for public workers are generally lower and the government workers will not be the type we want working for us if they can’t expect a decent package of benefits.

  9. steve says:

    you loser are not going to retire on my tax money! start saving in to a 401. I work hard to now get to work!

  10. new.lamby says:

    From this govenor I would not expect more. We serving New Yorkers every day of the year. We work hard. There are hard fought contracts in place. Now he wants to take this all away so he can please his Wall Street Friends. Well Mr. Cuomo, tax the people who have the 1% so that the other 99% don’t continue to suffer. Next he”ll close libraries, parks and schools. For those of you in the public sector, watch out. You will be next. It is time the 99 percent stand up for our rights.

Comments are closed.

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