By Tom Precious
ALBANY – Rarely is there a time when the conservative Empire Center for New York State Policy and the Civil Service Employees Association agree on an issue.
So today we bring you when those two moons have aligned. The conservative think tank and the state government’s largest public employees union are both sharply critical of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s idea to temporarily reduce pension costs for localities.
Here is the thinking of the Empire Center’s E.J. McMahon, as written in an op-ed piece in today’s Albany Times Union:
The state's largest public union is right. Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposal to "smooth" pensions for local governments and school districts is "a bait-and-switch scheme ... that will allow public employers to underfund their pension obligations," as the Civil Service Employees Association described it last week.
In lieu of fundamental mandate relief, Cuomo wants to give counties, municipalities and school districts the ability to immediately reduce pension contributions by up to 43 percent, and "lock in" a "stable" pension contribution rates for a 25-year period.
This would be accomplished by significantly underfunding the pension systems over the next few years, based on the expectation that the cheaper benefits offered to newly hired workers under Cuomo's Tier VI pension plan will ultimately yield more than enough savings to make up the difference later in the 25-year period.
Read the full piece here.