Bloomberg and Upstate Leaders Slam Pension Costs

ALBANY — Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and municipal leaders from across the state traveled to the Capitol on Wednesday to back Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s call for pension reform.

The mayors and county leaders said local governments were being hurt by soaring pension costs, which have led to layoffs and service cuts.

“Mounting pension costs are crushing the budgets of every public employer in New York State,” Mr. Bloomberg said at a news conference, adding, “We’re spending more money on pensions than on police, fire and sanitation together.”

Maggie Brooks, the Monroe County executive, said “the threat of bankruptcy hangs over every single municipal government in the state because of escalating pension costs.”

New York City, for example, is required to put $8 billion this year into its pension system, up from $1.5 billion in 2002. Both the city and state pension systems, like other public pension systems across the country, are straining to make up for steep investment losses incurred in the 2008 financial crisis.

Mr. Cuomo has proposed, as part of the state’s next budget, to reduce pension benefits for future hires and to create a 401(k)-like retirement option for workers. The plan is strongly supported by Mr. Bloomberg and business groups, but is opposed by labor unions and one of their strongest allies in Albany, Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

From The New York Times.  Click for full article

By DANNY HAKIM

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