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Opposites attract to oppose Cuomo pension plan

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.

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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

[email protected]


Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

[email protected]


Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri | [email protected]


Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski | [email protected]

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