HEADLINES : New York
Bloomberg Takes Coalition to Albany to Back Cuomo Pension Plan
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg led a group of local officials to Albany today to tell lawmakers that if they don't change the state pension system, it will lead to job cuts.
Bloomberg and a coalition of two dozen local leaders, who collectively represent 15 million residents, are pushing legislators to support a plan proposed by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The governor wants to raise the retirement age to 65 from 62 for most new workers and allow for a voluntary 401(k)-type retirement plan.
Cuomo, 54, says his plan will save the state and local governments $113 billion over the next 30 years. The proposal has drawn him into a battle with public-worker unions and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, a fellow Democrat and sole trustee of the $140.3 billion pension fund.
"This is not anti-union, this is not anti-worker. This is about job preservation," Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino said at a press conference. "The only tool we have is to have less jobs, and we don't want to do that, because less jobs means less services."
Suffolk County, home to Long Island's Hamptons beach communities, dismissed 50 employees this week and another 678 may lose their jobs in the next four months, County Executive Steven Bellone said. Others echoed the concern that rising pension costs will lead to lost services as workers are fired. Cuomo has said pension costs will consume 35 percent of local- government budgets by 2015, up from 3 percent in 2001.