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The Call Blog: Governor Cuomo Hails Pension Reform Deal

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Union leaders still aren't pleased with the pension reform system. They say it goes too far. But some Albany lawmakers aren't pleased either. They say it doesn't go far enough. Could it be then that the middle ground is the best place? I think we'll know the answer when we see who applies for public sector jobs in the future.



Governor Cuomo thanked Albany lawmakers today for reaching a deal to reform the public employee pension system. The agreement could save State and local governments an estimated $80 billion in the next 30 years. Cuomo released a taped video message today, saying lawmakers put "the voices of the people ahead of the demand of the special interests."

The deal would only affect future hires, and raises the retirement age from 62 to 63. It requires higher contributions from future employees, but doesn't include the 401K-like retirement plan that labor groups opposed. In addition, the average salary used to calculate benefits will be the last five years of employment, and can only include $15,000 in overtime.

Does the pension reform deal sound fair to you? What components do you think will benefit New Yorkers, and what would you change? How do you think it will affect the future workforce?

Send your thoughts using the link above.



The reforms probably aren't enough, but they're a beginning, and they're more than we've seen in the past -- in that sense, it's a victory for the people of New York State.

Now if the governor could only get some results on redistricting, we'd be talking about some serious change, long-term.

Bruce
Upper West Side
Manhattan



This deal had to happen in order to save the pension system, and it seems that everyone had to comprise and sacrifice a little, but why were fireman and policeman excluded from the deal??

Felix
Bay Ridge



John,

I always thought pensions were a fraud. Basically, it’s money extracted from your paycheck to be paid to you in the future. But wouldn’t it be better to have that money now and put it toward something that you’d like to do now? Or wouldn’t it have been better to invest it in something that has a higher rate of return?

For sure, it should never have come into the hands of government thieves who will spend every dollar they extort from you on one stupid project or another.

Joe
Port Richmond, SI



Hi John,

These law makers are just being constantly bullied by this Governor. What people did he hear speaking to him and why does he not come down to the boroughs and acknowledge us once in a while. I have only seen him make and appearance in Queens and Manhattan that I know of. He's gutless without his strong arm tactics and everything is settled in his way behind closed doors. Why didn't he challenge his wife when she went around trying to sell her religious book. Chicken little was no wear to be found. She did a number on him. But he has no problem treating us the way does.

Thank you John,
maxxiee
mp



The pension plan sounds fair to me. By retiring at 63, workers can collect reduced social security but not full, of course. (If only companies would have the same age for retirement!!!!!) The $15,000 o/t sounds reasonable. I do not know how much was padded on in total by employees in the past. I am guessing that it was a large sum and no longer sustainable.

I have been successful with 401K plans until, of course, the meltdown which everyone suffered from in the last few years.

We are, unfortunately, in very difficult times economically and, even though public employees were used to certain benefits - as were many others workers in different fields - we have to deal with the current economic climate caused by greed and for which I do not see Wall Street and others held accountable.

I commend the Gov. and the lawmakers for resolving our severe economic problems in a professional manner, without bullying and rancor.

Maddalena
Midtown West - Manhattan



AS LONG AS THE FUTURE PENSION REFORMS INCLUDE FUTURE GOVERNORS, STATE ASSEMBLY AND STATE SENATORS, I AM GOOD WITH IT.

JOE, BAY TERRACE



NYers need to get used to how the rest of the US functions. The times of corrupt unions impeding progress are over!!

Ed in Manhattan



Governor Cuomo has done one thing really well and that is convince people that he is a Democrat. This pension reform is great for the politicians and the people who are retired now, but it will make future workers pay the price as usual. It's great all of the people making these decisions have either already gotten their retirement money or will be dead and gone when this supposed savings will take affect in three decades.

Since I was let by the city/state due to their own corruption and incompetence the 18 years of money I put into the pension is just sitting in NYCERS and I for one have no intention of letting it sit there so they can figure out how to steal it at some point. One other thing I have to say about this whole situation is that I am tired of the rhetoric about how this will save taxpayers money, last time I checked when I did have a job was that they took taxes out my check and I would assume every other municipal workers as well. I would like to see them reform the politicians benefits and pensions since they seem to get a sweet deal after doing what they call work for only a few years, with the perks of all that lobbyist money they get too.

RL
The Bronx



No one is begrudging long-time hard-working civil servants an adequate pension income based on their base salary at retirement, but it is fiscally obscene that so many former public employees are receiving substantially more than their final year's base due to massive overtime compensation made necessary by personnel cuts, and to what has evolved into an outright entitlement due to seniority and the pathetic tradition of cronyism.

Considering that retired public employees are also entitled to Social Security, distributions from IRAs and other retirement funds, and numerous other earned and unearned income opportunities, public pension benefits should be no more than what the employee was entitled to earn just for showing up for a day's work, and perhaps even less as is the case with most other pension plans and Social Security.

With all retirement funds having taken a beating due to the bad economy, government agencies being decimated by budget cuts, and many local governments on the verge of bankruptcy, continuing to pay these inflated pension benefits on the backs of the taxpayers, and at the expense of the poor and others whose social programs and public benefits are already severely impaired, is nothing short of unjust enrichment that, despite prior and existing union contracts, should and must be curtailed by operation of law as unconscionable and unsustainable.

BIG ANDY
Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn



CITY WORKERS ARE ALL THE SAME.I THINK THAT IS UNFAIR THAT THE POLICEMEN AND FIREMEN ARE EXCLUDED FROM THIS NEW TIER ESPECIALLY WENT THEIR PENSIONS ARE THE ONES BEING BUILD UP ON OVERTIME MAKING THEM THE BULK OF THE PENSION PROBLEM.

PEDRO
BRONX



John & The Call -

Pension reform is exclusive of the Financial Crisis and Wall Street malfeasance. The civil service workers do provide value but they did choose to take these positions. I took two civil service tests a couple of years ago and there were lines around the block for a basic clerical position at the DMV. The pay and benefits offered are a premium compared to the private sector. There is a misconception that private sector pay and benefits are high.

NYPD and Fire Department should also be included in the overtime cap. As much as these departments have risk, these jobs have evolved as well the benefits should change accordingly. I agree with Ellie from Turtle Bay.

John, Oakwood



Hi John,

Really!!

Changes to the pension system under the cover of darkness!! Although pension costs on the State and Local levels are high, this is not the reason for governmental financial troubles. This is a diversion from real cost problems:

Questions about cost overruns on hundreds of projects, government corruption and non-essential expenditures should be on the front burner.

Lastly, what changes are going to be made to the State and Local officials pensions? They make a very nice salary and retire with nice size pensions and benefit packages.

Dave
Brooklyn



One of the selling point by the governor and legislators was that city employees retires with a pension of $70K per year. The people who retires with this income are the same group of people who are exempt from this Teir 6. The average employee retires with one third of their final average salary (FAS). FAS on an average is approximately $50k, you do the math. This is indeed an attack on working middle class. Furthermore, people work overtime to bring their income up to par with their counterparts in the private work force. Now we are in the cateogry of the working poor. We have to pay for the mistakes of wall street.

Rosalind
Brooklyn



Why is anyone shocked at Gov. Cuomo's anti-worker position? He ran on the premise of reigning in the unions. Where were all these voices before he was voted into office? The horse has been out of the barn for some time, people. Cuomo and his legislative lackeys must go!

Chandra, Bronx.



This is ridiculous, current employees are not affected, I think it was made quite clear. If new employees feel the benefits are not adequate, tell them to find work else where.

Anonymous



I am a NYPD police officer, and I would just like to say that this plan is turning working class people on one another when that should not be. Current NYPD hires can NOT pension any of their O/T. Overtime is mandated. They only get 44% of their salary of they go out of work from work related injuries. And the Variable Supplement was money that was owed back to the NYPD and other city agencies that helped bail out the cash strapped city. I believe the people got a raw deal on this but I don't believe the blame should be put on the guys that do put their lives on the line, only to kill themselves to work overtime, and second jobs, just so they can provide for their families just like everyone else.

Ralph

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