Bloomberg pushed for pension reform
As state pension reform has been built into Governor Andrew Cuomo's budget, which is due in about a month, Mayor Michael Bloomberg expressed his support for the plan in the state Capitol on Wednesday. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
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Mayor Michael Bloomberg has formed a statewide coalition of elected officials called New York Leaders For Pension Reform. Since 2002, pension costs to local governments have increased 630 percent.
For New York City, the mayor says the pension costs were $1.5 billion annually when he first took office and are roughly $8 billion today.
"We are going to have fewer services, we are going to have fewer employees and in some cases, higher taxes, if this continues," said Bloomberg.
Governor Andrew Cuomo's Tier VI pension plan would raise the retirement age, increase the number of years for workers to be vested in the system and eliminate overtime as part of the pension calculation.
It is Cuomo's proposal for a defined contribution option, often referred to as a "401k," that has been met with the most resistance, most notably from labor unions and State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
This week, the governor said he was flexible on that option, but on Wednesday he seemed less so.
"I have a position on pension reform. I have been working very hard to push my position on pension reform. The [state] Senate knows it. The Assembly knows it. And I'm going to continue to push," said Cuomo.
The mayor was asked if the defined contribution plan must be part of the package in order to have meaningful reform.
"Having choices is something I always thought was good. The governor proposed it originally. Whether it's politically practical, he has to deal with reality. I understand that," said Bloomberg.
The mayor met with legislators at the state capitol to personally lobby them to support Tier VI.
"We are tired of people blaming us for this. This is the Legislature. They keep voting these benefits," said Bloomberg.
The mayor said 12 percent of the city's government revenue is now spent on pension costs, a number that is only expected to increase. He said there is no point negotiating with the unions on this since they have no incentive to give anything up and that reform would need to come from Albany.