Mayor, Governor at Odds Again Over Pensions, 421-a
More than a week after Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo buried the hatchet, the two Democrats are once again sparring publicly. Two rifts have been reopened as the legislative session in Albany winds down. Zack Fink filed this report.
As the New York City Council passed Mayor Bill de Blasio's bill reforming pension disability payments to police officers and firefighters, Governor Andrew Cuomo attended a rally in albany where he stood with the unions who believe the mayor's plan doesn't go far enough.
"There is no justification to you being relegated to a second tier of benefits," Cuomo said.
At a hastily called vote, the City Council passed an amended version of the pension plan that the unions and the governor oppose. The vote was largely symbolic, though, since any real changes will have to be made in Albany. That pits the mayor and the City Council speaker against the governor and the uniformed worker unions.
"The governor is going to have his position. The state doesn't have to put any money in this. We have to put the money in and we have to make sure we are fiscally sound," said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.
The governor also reopened an old rift with de Blasio over the mayor's plan to amend a tax abatement program known as 421-a. That too needs to be passed by Albany.
"Nobody knew that the mayor was going to reach an agreement and propose it a couple of weeks ago. If you knew that, you knew that. I didn't know that. And then it became a reaction to the mayor's plan and the mayor's plan generated problems," Cuomo said.
Cuomo says the mayor did not give Albany enough time or notice to make any substantive changes to 421-a.
"We gave all of the different elements in albany plenty of notice about this vision and obviously it had a of support. So, I've never bought into this notion there wasn't time to get to a larger plan," said Cuomo.
At this point, at least on 421-a, the governor seems willing to pass a simple extender without any changes to the plan. 421-a expires on Monday.