Albany’s assault on money-saving pension reform must be stopped

Article from NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
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Photo by JEFFERSON SIEGEL

Sweet deal for court officers

New York’s Legislature has begun to lay siege to Gov. Cuomo’s landmark cost-saving pension reforms. He must win the day with veto after veto after veto.

Doing as their masters requested, Brooklyn Sen. Marty Golden and Brooklyn Assemblyman Peter Abbate introduced a bill that would give court security officers hired after Cuomo’s reforms took effect the more expensive benefits enjoyed by colleagues who joined the payroll earlier.

Specifically, these still-rookie officers would be permitted to retire with full benefits as early as 55 with 30 years’ service, rather than paying a penalty. And their standard retirement age would be knocked down to 62 from 63.

While the adjustments seem minor and, at present, would cover only a relative handful of workers, they are strategically designed to set a precedent for the rest of the state workforce. The question would become: If these folks got theirs, why not everyone else?

“This is how the landslide begins,” warns fiscal watchdog E.J. McMahon of the Empire Center for Public Policy.

Under the state Constitution, once a benefit is granted to a certain group of workers, it can never be taken back. Yet this bill zoomed through the Legislature with just one “no” vote — by upstate Republican Sen. Betty Little of Warren County. Thank you, Sen. Little.

Now it’s up to Cuomo. Veto, sir, veto.

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