Cuomo: We Can't Afford The Public Pension System We Have In NYBy Mona Rivera

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP)Gov. Andrew Cuomo traveled Monday to the property tax capitol of the nation –Nassau County — and was cheered for pushing a property tax cap.

Raw Audio: Cuomo Details Pension Reform Plan

At a speech given at Hofstra University, Cuomo announced a proposal for a new, less generous pension system for future state, local and school employees that is designed to save taxpayers $93 billion over 30 years, according to two officials briefed on the plan.

“We can’t afford the public pension system that we have in this state. Period. We just can’t afford it,” Cuomo said at Hofstra. “The increase in public pensions has been astronomical [and] what has been driving the taxes…one of the things is the public pensions.”

WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb With Reaction From Mayor Bloomberg

If approved by the Legislature, the proposal would increase the retirement age to 65 for all public employees hired after the law was passed. It would also end early retirement, force employees to pay twice as much toward their pension, and end the “padding” of pensions through overtime pay, sick time and other means.

“There’s a lot of mythology that there are gold-plated retirements out there,” Stephen Madarasz, spokesman for the Civil Service Employees Association union, said Friday. He said the average pension for a CSEA retiree is $14,000 a year.

Madarasz said the governor’s task force that broadly recommended a new tier in March ignores “the shared sacrifice already shouldered by public employees.”

Given already implemented pension-reform plans, “there are no immediate savings to be gained” though another set of reforms, CSEA stated in March.

A set of reforms, known as Tier V, was passed by the Legislature in 2009 under Gov. David Paterson with union leaders’ support. The plan is projected to save $38 billion over the next 30 years.

Cuomo’s Tier VI for public workers outside New York City would:

— Raise the minimum age of retirement to 65. Retirement age is now 62 for most employees and 57 for teachers. Early retirement, now allowed at 55 years old with a 38 percent penalty, would end.

— Require workers to put in 12 years before they qualify for a pension. Employees are now “vested” after 10 years.

— Require new employees to pay twice as much toward their pension plan.

— End the practice of “padding” a pension using overtime pay late in service, unused vacation and certain sick leave.

— Cap pensions for the highest paid state employees — physicians at state teaching hospitals, CEOs of public authorities and utilities among them — based on the governor’s $179,000 salary. Many of those employees earn far more.

— Eliminate a “multiplier” that boosts a pension after 20 years and 25 years of service.

The proposal doesn’t replace the traditional public pension with a 401(k) retirement plan common in the private sector, where employees pay far more or all of the contributions.

The Cuomo administration said government contributions to pensions rose as many as 20 times since 2001 for teachers, government workers, police and firefighters.

Suffolk County Executive Steven Levy, who has led the fight for pension reform among counties, recently said now is the time for governments to trade in pensions for 401(k) plans. He has said generous public pensions are unaffordable to taxpayers.

What do you think of these possible pension changes? Leave a comment below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (26)
  1. Davis says:

    Besides low CSEA pay, lets not forget still having to pay the current political party in power Rebublican and Democratic Party membership fees.. Try to get help with a permotion and you are sent to the governments lasion head who checks there computer to see if your dues are paid up before talking to you.

  2. Elkin Patino says:

    sure.. why don’t they raise the minimun age to retire, not when you hit 65 but when your dead certificate is issue. therefore you save money and you don’t have to pay anybody, after all nothing is more cetain, only death and taxes give me a break. try againg Giovernor.

  3. Jerry_Leigh says:

    401(k)swere supposed to SUPPLEMENT, not replace pensions. Last week, the Daily News reported that the average 401(k) contained around $74,000. If the recipient lives (only) ten years, that’s $7,400 per year. The Governor’s, Lieutenant Governor’s, and NYC Mayor’s salaries are set by law. They are all “voluntarily” returning portions of their salaries to show “sacrifice”, but their pensions will be based upon their FULL salaries. The State Legislature and City Council should pass laws reducing their salaries to the reduced salaries they claim to be receiving, with sunset clauses to take effect the day after they leave office–then Bloomberg will get a 20 cent per year pension when he goes out. Our Lieutenant Governor is collecting a police pension while drawing his L.G. salary–yeah, take it out on the workers. What about Giuliani’s using pension money to finance three years’ worth of City employees’ raises (that was the rigged DC37 Contract vote) and getting legislative approval to skip additional payments to the fund? Imagine what he’d do to Social Security as President.

  4. Rick says:

    it’s about time someone addressed the “padding” of pensions! What a scam and it should not be allowed.

  5. Steve says:

    middle class blue collar workers do the work dont want to do or think they are above doing. they pay into the pension plans that white collar business execs thought were great. now after years of city,state and big business underpaying thier share to the pension funds they think the plans are too expensive. too bad.if the pension funds were not so tightly watched over they would have been raided ages ago by the same people who are complaining how expensive they are. its all a smoke screen by the rich people who want to get out of paying what has been agreed to be forehand

    1. steve says:

      CORRECTION this should have been my opening line
      middle class blue collar workers do the work others dont want to do or think they are above doing.

  6. susan says:

    First of all your fireman, police and teachers are what makes up all of your communities. They keep you safe, protect your homes and educate your families. My Dad was a policeman for 25 years and had to work two additional jobs for his family. My brother is on the bomb squad and protects the people of NY everyday. So before you start painting this horrible picture of people who work just like you…(who run into fires and get fired upon) think…think about how everyone has made a choice. My father made a choice, my brother made a choice and so did you. Stop blaming everyone else for your bad choice.

    1. Dale Auburn says:

      Correction: Firemen and cops make up OTHER communities. NYC police and fire jobs are reserved for SUBURBANITES – except for Staten Island, city residents are NOT allowed.

  7. Teachers will go bonkers over this. Absolutely crazy. We’ll see how soon this grinds to a halt

  8. John Sanchez says:

    All pensions and healthcare benefits for public employees should be eliminated. If the private sector employees who pay the salaries of the public sector employees don’t receive these benefits then neither should the public sector employees.

    1. Brian says:

      If private employees are so jealous of public workers benefits they can resign, take a salary cut, and come live the dream life of a public employee. Or you can sack up and demand that your employer stop denying the things that were guaranteed to all employees. Stop blaming those who have it and look to those that took it away.

    2. Equity For All says:

      John, you are absolutely right.
      And Brian, you are a total shmuck with ears!!!
      Tell all of us where workers in the private sector are making so much more than the PUBLIC FUNDED state and city workers. It should be the other way around. The public employees should quit THEIR jobs and try to make the same benefits in the private sector. But you wouldn’t ever to agree to that because you are another left wing liberal socialist who thinks everybody is entitled to whatever they want, simply because they want it. Every damn social program comes at a price, and it comes out of every tax payers pockets.

    3. ham07 says:

      So you like to be abused by your boss. So your CEO makes 300 times more than you and you are happy with that. If you are ill or disabled, after working x years in private, they should put you on a gurney and into the street.

      Each year after year, you the private worker and your kids will soon follow, have your salaries frozen in time and your CEO get’s a nicer chunk each year. And that is okay with you. You don’t even realize that this is all to bust down the worker, but you just don’t get it.

    4. ham07 says:

      @ J. Sanchez
      So you like to be abused by your boss. So your CEO makes 300 times more than you and you are happy with that. If you are ill or disabled, after working x years in private, they should put you on a gurney and into the street.

      Each year after year, you the private worker and your kids will soon follow, have your salaries frozen in time and your CEO get’s a nicer chunk each year. And that is okay with you. You don’t even realize that this is all to bust down the worker, but you just don’t get it.

    5. Ectoplasm for All says:

      What fantasy world do you live in that you think you can hire people to pick up your trash, teach your kids, and put out your burning house without medical and pension benefits. I guess you’d hire illegals. Just because your name is Sanchez doesn’t mean you have to live in a third world country, or have a third world mentality

  9. Junior says:

    How about NO pension, like the rest if the private sector? They can do it like the rest of us do, 401K and savings! Enough with the taxpayer funded retirement BS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Jimmy says:

    You should all blame the current pensioners that scammed the system and brought this on the future employees.

  11. NPaolini says:

    How spineless Governor Cuomo and company to let the current outrageous benefit packages be grandfathered while stiffing the next generation. These contracts should be considered socially illegal having been put in place by legislative bodies and school boards that were either self serving and/or incompetent financially raping their constituents who must now pay the bill with significantly less resources than their ‘public servant’ counterparts. Amend the contracts ASAP and stop cowering to the power unions: Teachers, Police and Fireman! By the way, the relatively low paid CSEA counterparts should not be spoken of in context to the power unions. These CSEA groups are not close to being equal from a financial perspective and the spineless politicians know this.

  12. JB says:

    Average CSEA pension 14,000. Yeah Paul…it’s the fault of the workers. Tax the wealthy. No loopholes…pay their share. How about a war tax?

  13. Adam says:

    Great proposal

  14. Gary F. Case says:

    I really thought Cuomo would do better by the hard working state employees than that !

  15. Shirley Ranz says:

    I wonder how this is going to affect Cuomo’s pension and what it is going to be when he retires.

  16. Justin DeSalvo says:

    How about cutting all our current elected officials benefits and salaries by 2/3. They then would still make double what everyone else makes with healthcare that none of us get.

  17. Jimmney says:

    The wealthy (Andy and bloomy’s buddies) don’t pay their fair share of taxes. They get over like a fat rat,
    outsource jobs, gentrify the poor and elderly, a rape women in hotel rooms (that IMF guy). Mr. Cuomo will
    definately be a one term Gov. of voters have any sense.

  18. Sick of Bloomberg/Cuomo says:

    No, we cannot afford to pay our public employees or our private employees. Of course, that is because we are busy paying CEO’s that destroy companies billions in salary and golden parachutes. Also, we have to fund the never ending greed of Wall Street and the Hedge Funds. Thankfully, we have middle class and working poor employees to suck the life out of sdo we can keep the pigs healthy. Good work Cuomo, you’re a real prince of teh people.

  19. Paul says:

    In a way these things are inevitable. Neither private companies nor government agencies can afford the crippling debt accrued by having to pay out pensions to so many retired employees and their current ones. As people live longer the problem only becomes worse. Yeah it sucks, but the system simply cannot continue this way. By the time the kids being born today get into the workforce there probably won’t be pensions at all. Everything will be in 401ks and other retirement investments.

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