Letter Pensions & Benefits

CBC Encourages Governor Cuomo to Veto Five Benefit Sweetener Bills

November 11, 2014

Honorable Andrew Cuomo
Executive Chamber
State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

Dear Governor Cuomo,

In 2012 you fought for, and achieved, significant pension reforms that curbed taxpayer costs and provided appropriate benefits for retirees. The Citizens Budget Commission urges you to veto five bills passed by the legislature that would begin to reverse that hard-won progress.

The five bills are:

  • A7862/S5644 would transfer SUNY police officers from the New York State and Local Employees Retirement System to the Police and Fire Retirement System, generating a one-time cost of $10 million and new annual obligations of $1 million for the State.
  • A9162/S7716, for which no statutorily required fiscal note has been provided, would circumvent a recent court ruling by allowing Tier III and V police and firefighters hired between July 1, 2009 and March 31, 2012, who may have been working under an expired collective bargaining agreement, to join an optional 20- year retirement plan without any employee contributions.
  • A9392/S7120 would automatically enroll members of the Police and Fire Retirement System in the more expensive, optional 20-year plan unless members opt out; although the fiscal note accompanying the bill indicates no initial costs, the measure is likely to increase the number of employees in more costly pension plans increasing costs for local governments.
  • A8160/S5153 would increase disability pensions for Suffolk County probation officers from one-third to one-half of final average salary, costing the County $218,000 annually and $1 million upfront.
  • A9051/S6810 would provide new disability pensions of 75 percent for certain classes of ambulance personnel in Nassau County at a cost of $170,000 annually.

The passage of a new pension tier in 2012 was not easily won. We urge you to protect those savings and affirm your commitment to fiscal responsibility by vetoing these bills.


Carol Kellermann