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Cuomo Signs New Pension Deal Into Law

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Governor Andrew Cuomo put his executive pen to paper Thursday on a new state pension reform deal.

Cuomo signed the legislation surrounded by mayors and county executives from around the state.

The deal for pension reform was reached in marathon sessions of the legislature late Wednesday night into early Thursday morning.

It creates a new Tier VI in the state pension plan, requires new hires to contribute more to their plans, and raises the retirement age from 62 to 63.

There will now be a 401k-like account for high-earning, non-union new workers. Cuomo had wanted that option for all new state workers.

Nevertheless, the governor said the pension reform will save state and local governments $80 billion over 30 years.

Cuomo thanked local officials — particularly Mayor Michael Bloomberg — for helping push for the deal.

"It's not overly dramatic to say that if this pension costs were to continue today, you would see cities and towns across this state going bankrupt, period," Cuomo said.

Bloomberg spearheaded a coalition of local elected officials that produced TV ads and urged legislators to vote for the reform.

"If the governor got everything he asked for, he wasn't asking for enough," Bloomberg said. "I think history is going to show not only is this enough, it's time that we sit back and take a quick victory lap and then get back to work because we still have an awful lot more to do for this state."

The mayor adds the deal will save the city roughly $21 billion without affecting current public employees.

Unions were pushing back against pension reform through wee hours early Thursday morning when the State Assembly finally passed the bill. The union leaders have vowed to keep fighting.

"It should not be the workers whose backs this legislation is going to be on, as a scapegoat for activities and the transfer of people's monies to Wall Street from people's income and security," said Wanda Williams of District Council 37.

Police and fire are exempt from Tier VI, but New York City is different since its police and firefighters have a whole different tier system. The new pension reform law extends reduced benefits to sanitation workers and corrections.

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