Letter Pensions & Benefits

CBC Encourages Governor Paterson to Veto Benefit Sweeteners

July 22, 2010

Hon. David A Paterson
Office of the Governor
Executive Chamber
State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

Dear Governor Paterson,

The fiscal realities of the time have not deterred the Legislature from advancing dozens of bills enhancing benefits for State and local employees and retirees. The Citizens Budget Commission has been tracking the progress of 25 of these bills on its annual Sweetener Scorecard. Three were already sent to you for consideration this week; another will be shortly. We are writing to ask that you veto them.

The first of the three bills—A8664-A/S5748A—would make the final average salary calculation for New York City teachers who have taken a leave of absence more generous. The New York City Actuary calculates that it will cost $1.1 million annually in added contributions. The second—A8509A/S5633A—enhances already generous pension packages for uniformed employees by allowing members of the State Department of Corrections to defer five vacation days per year and receive a lump sum payment upon their retirement. The third—A10068/S7078—allows certain employees in nursing titles in the State University of New York’s optional retirement program to retroactively transfer their membership to the New York State and Local Employees Retirement System, a move that would switch them from a defined contribution to a defined benefit plan. The bill yet to be delivered that also deserves a veto—A10753/S7544—would set a precedent for State police officers to receive death benefits for longer periods of service than their records reflect by counting vacation and sick time.

Although these bills are narrower in their impact than some passed in prior years, they will still add costs to a pension system that has become unaffordable. We encourage you to continue to stand for fiscal responsibility and veto these bills and any others that come before you.


Carol Kellermann
President of the Citizens Budget Commission