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This is the third time this week we have discussed pensions and each night has brought a heated debate. The state's public employees feel they are being dealt an unfair card. Many of them feel betrayed by Governor Cuomo and think every public employee should be under the same pension plan, particulary City police officers and firefighters.
Governor Cuomo signed a new public employee pension reform bill into law today. Cuomo thanked lawmakers for adopting the measure, saying it prevented cities and towns in New York State from "going bankrupt." The reform plan, which raises the retirement age and pension contributions for future employees, is expected to save $80 billion in the next 30 years.
Mayor Bloomberg took to the radio this morning to praise the reformed pension system. He said the benefits package will be "a little less generous," but will still attract "the kind of workers we want." Union leaders disagree, saying the new tier is another assault on the middle class.
Future NYPD and FDNY members are exempt from the new law. Their pensions will not be affected by the deal, because they have a different tier system altogether. The new law also extends the NYPD/FDNY retirement structure to future Correction and Sanitation employees. Is that fair?
Are you celebrating the new pension reform law? Should all municipal workers have the same retirement plan, or should departments be looked at individually? Will this vote in Albany affect yours in the future?
Send your thoughts using the link above.
I just wanted to add a few reasons as to why I feel it was a good thing cops and firemen were not affected by the recent pension deal. A $15,000 cap on the amount of O/T that is pensionable is not acceptable, I think all O/T should be pensionable (For all workers), and like I stated before that is still decent considering new NYPD hires as of the last contract from 2008 cannot factor any of their O/T into their pensions. Regarding the age, I believe raising the retirement age by 1 year is not a big deal, and in this part I'm glad they excluded Police and Fire because no one wants to see a 63 year old cop trying to chase someone or a 63 year old fireman trying to do a ladder rescue. In regards to the pension being determined by the avg. of final 5 years that is still decent considering that non-fire/police employees can still pension some O/T, as opposed to new hire firemen and police officers (as of 2006) whose pensions are based on their final year, not avg. of last five; so in essence if they city and state wanted to save money all they would have to do is limit/eliminate O/T for final year cops and fireman, which would result in their pensions being diminished to half of their base salary pay, which doesn't say much since cops and fireman in NYC are underpaid by comparison. Again I feel for the people who are affected by this because it is wrong, but it's also wrong to point the finger in the guys that do risk all for only to have to wonder how they are gonna pay their mortgage, and put their kids through school with little financial aid. We feel it too.
THEY JUST KEEP INSULTING US OVER AND OVER AGAIN.
THEIR WORD IS LAW.
I'M GLAD THEY AGREE OUTSIDE OF THE CLOSED DOORS WITH ONE ANOTHER = MEANWHILE EVERYTHING IS DONE BEHIND CLOSED DOORS WITH THEIR STRONG ARMED TACTICS AND PAYOFFS JUST TO GET THEIR WAY.
IT PAYS TO BE RICH.
IT OBFUSCATES THE REAL ISSUE- WHO CREATED THE ECONOMIC DOWNTURN? WAS IT THE PUBLIC SECTOR WORKER OR WAS IT WALL STREET. SHELDON SILVER MITIGATED WHAT THIS OCCUPANT OF ALBANY WANTED TO DO AND THAT IS WHY I WILL NEVER CAST A VOTE FOR THE SON OF MARIO BASED ON OMERTA AND JUST THINK WHEN HE RUNS FOR PRESIDENT MABYE HE CAN RUN UNOPPOSED CARRYING THE BANNER OF BOTH PARTIES WHOSE CONSTITUENCY IS GOLDMAN SACHS AND THE REST OF THE CORPORATOCRACY. BRING BACK BOSS TWEED. DISGRACEFULLY MENDACIOUS.
Did we really expect anything else from insensitive conniving politicians, who at every opportunity will cave in and erode away the little given to the working class toward a decent life after retirement.
Felix Bay Ridge
It's fair. NYPD & FDNY risk their lives saving our lives. Police men and Firemen have a highly stressful job that wears and tears their physical body as well as their mental state of mind. No money can ever repay a cop saving a life or a Fireman going inside a burning building to save lives. That's priceless. Everybody else will have to make what they get work for them. This economy sucks but we have to appreciate having a pension versus no pension at all.
Now that the details have emerged, the result seems like a mix of common sense and raw politics, which is to be expected in a neogitation like this. The uniformed services -- police, fire, sanitation, and correction officers (and you can put parole officers in there too) put themselves on the line in ways that other city job-holders do not, it's as simple as that. But for anyone who needs to understand more, their unions all carry a huge amount of weight in Albany.
But the result is still a good one.
Upper West Side
I am not sure if I am 100% with the NYPD and FDNY being treated differently in these very difficult times but I would DEFINITELY NOT EXTEND their retirement structure to the Corrections and Sanitation employees. They are not put in the same situation where their lives might be at risk.
I also want to add that I am sure that the negotiations were not easy but I did not hear anyone being disrespectful nor being a bully. Perhaps we can now expect some grown-up and cooperative behavior on the part of the national politicians!
Midtown West - Manhattan
I will give Cuomo this, he ran his campaign on wrecking the unions and he has kept his promise. Guess he is looking for the Republican vote when he decides to run for President, good luck with that. As secretive as the Governor likes to be he has made it very clear that he values big corporations and Wall Street and the middle and working class be damned. Aside from making sure any future municipal worker will work until they die, what else has he done to help the economy? His convention center in Queens? Yeah that is going to save the day and generate all of these imaginary job and revenue, but of course Genting is already crying they can't fund the whole thing, which goes against what Cuomo said about the project being fully funded by the private company. Let's see who has the guts to step up to him when he gives them millions of dollars, some of which will come from the savings they will gain by shafting workers.
As for Bloomberg he really is a sociopath, there is no other way to explain the things he does and says. He says this will still attract the type of workers they want, and what type is that? He verbally treats pretty much every city worker who isn't NYPD like garbage, undermines them at every turn and takes money out of their pocket whenever he can, he thinks that is going to attract loyal, hard-working people. It sounds to me the Mayor and Governor want serfs and slaves that will just work for food scraps and go off into the woods to die when they get old and sick. Or of course they can privatize everything and take tax-payers money and give it to their friends to do an even worse job then is being done now. As for all the other politicians at the city and state level in both parties, they are all the same at this point as far as I'm concerned. They have run this place into the ground while they stuff as much money in their pockets and cozy up to as many lobbyists as they can, the future be damned. Like I said yesterday they will either be dead or living it up off of all the money they have taken when all of this finally bottoms out, so why should they care?
Every penny of that 80 billion in savings over the next 30 years is right off the back of the working people. Rich escape scott free. Even uniformed services who reap most of the pension benefits King Cuomo was afraid to touch. From this day onward Mr. Cuomo's legacy should be enemy of the working people.
Big tough Cuomo and Bloomberg beating down the horrific municipal employees. Same two useless dishrags that can't, like our Federal leaders, get Wall Street and the banks under control. Also, they can't touch the police or fire department because their unions will crush them. So, why not pick on, as usual, the teachers as they ride the wave of ignorance to infamy. The stink of corruption that fills the room every time Cuomo and Bloomberg enter is stifling and the millions of dollars they waste go unchecked. We can thank a massively uninformed public that only reacts with emotion and no actual information to these guerilla tactics. Soon it will be only poor and rich in New York State, the first real American caste system. No wonder the middle class is abandoning New York.
Disgusted in Queens
The Cuomo pension plan is a joke. The hot air that emerged from the mouths of all politicians who claim to have done a wonderful thing was great enough to power a thousand windmills. This was especially so with Blowhard Bloomberg. Did you listen to his remarks? It was if he was making presentation at the Constitutional Convention. Except that he knows nothing about it and violates the rights in dozens of ways.
Any plan that excludes the overpaid NYPD and FDNY is a failure.
But the bigger question is, why should the taxpayers be paying for these outlandish pensions in the first place?
Port Richmond, SI
yes if tier 6 is Good for some it should be good enough for all again The people with the lowest paying jobs are expected to take the blunt of the impact again again. . Why not look at the biggest abusers of the system and that will answer the question that we are all in this together and all need to be on a level playing field.
I think the so-called "pension reform" deal is a travesty. It's business as usual in Albany, a back room deal where Cuomo said that he would push redistricting reform to 10 YEARS from now if state legislators would pass his agenda to balance the budget by busting unions, reducing benefits and pensions, and refusing to make the wealthy pay their fair share. Democrats walked out of the senate because a bundle of 80 page bills were dumped on their desks and they were told they had to vote on them in a couple of hours, without being able to read them or debate them. This is about Cuomo, Silver, and Skelos rubbing each other's backs so that Albany can remain the broken, dysfunctional system that it is - called the worst in the country.
Silver has become a millionaire while in office, getting rich on the backs of the working and poor people of this state. Cuomo's rhetoric has turned working people against one another, some resenting that others have pensions. ALL working people NEED pensions, how will they survive retirement otherwise? No one can live only on social security anymore. Studies have found that most people within 10 years of retirement have only $10,000 in the bank. I predict that within the next 10 to 15 years there will be such a financial crisis for the boomers, causing a huge increase in the homeless elderly the like of which has never been seen.
Meryl from Manhattan
This is just the tip of the iceberg. It's really going to hit the fan when we realize that at a national level we cannot support so many retiree benefits with so few workers. It's simple math people. The 2008 recession decimated returns on the pension fund, forcing the City to pay up and shut up. It took us 4 years to figure out it was unsustainable.
Frank, Sunset Park, Brooklyn
Unfortunately all you have to do is see who is being affected and look who got over (cops and firefighters) to know the real deal.This is my opinion naturally.
Just another step in the degradation of the working classes with little if any impact on either the very poor or the 1%. An article in today's NY Times speaks eloquently about the practicality of expanding public pensions to let more people join them.
Kenn from Bayside
Cuomo is trying to help prevent the carnage to the middle class the we are seeing in Greece. This is a move in the right direction.
I DON'T UNDERSTAND THE GOVERNOR. HE DOESN'T WANT TO TAX THE RICH OR CHANGE THE PENSION OF THE POLICE AND THE FIREFIGHTERS BUT HE ALONG WITH BLOOMBERG JUST KEEP STICKING IT TO THE MIDDLE CLASS
As the 401(k) Plan did not pass as part of this Tier VI Pension Reform for union workers -- I guess the unions did get something that they wanted. Other than that, this was a raw deal. This was done all behind closed doors in the wee hours of the morning. From what I have been hearing it was Sheldon Silver who was calling democrats of the Assembly at 3:00am in the morning to pressure them to sign off on this bill. Most democrats in the Assembly did not want this Pension Reform Policy -- they were not on board at all!! I guess Shedon Siliver "The Bull" of the Assembly who usually fights for middle class and blue collar workers is now crouching in the corner crying when he has to stand up to Governor Cuomo and prefers to bully his own members. This was shoved down the throats of democrats and even some republicans.
The Union should never, ever forget this and hold Sheldon Silver ultimately responsible!
People need to wake up and smell the math. Workers are living longer, so all of the estimated retirement benefits are woefully inadequate.
When nearly half of the city’s budget is spent on retirement benefits, something is wrong.
Cuomo is a brave leader and deserves to be commended. That said, I don’t see why the police and fire department get special treatment.
John from Canarsie
We the working class Americans are the ones who hire these politicians, so why is it we their employer cannot fire them, or cut their pensions, or dock their pay. Oh I forgot they have a four year contract. So in essence, they do not work for us, we work for them.
Glad to see Cuomo can now collect by force, and not pay back much of what's paid in. I got out as a tier one at age 54, with 36 years service. At 63 not many will live long enough to get 1 cent of the state share. Does anyone recall if the state is paid up on its share? How much has been loaned to the state to pay its bills. Was it not against the law to do that? YES but if we change the law; its ok.