On behalf of our 2,500 employer members, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership urges the New York State Legislature to support Governor Cuomo’s Tier VI pension reform plan given that the proposal will provide relief to overburdened business owners, taxpayers, school districts and municipalities across the state by saving more than $120 billion over the next 30 years.
New York holds the dubious distinction of the second most costly pension burden in the nation – taxpayers pay on average $574 each year to help cover the cost of public pensions. With mandatory contributions by the state for public pensions increasing 300 percent since 2004 and a projected increase from its current level at $1.5 billion to $2 billion in 2014 – if left unchecked, this fiscal burden will cripple the state’s next generation of taxpayers.
To stave off this crisis, Governor Cuomo has a proactive plan that would not affect current employees, and would still offer a defined benefits system for the future workforce as well as the opportunity to enroll in a 401K-style retirement account.
The Governor’s commonsense pension reform proposal enjoys support across the state. According to a recent Siena College Poll, “more than two-thirds of voters – including a majority of voters from union households – support the Governor’s proposal to create a new pension tier for future government employees, requiring them to make larger contributions to their retirement plans and saving employers money. It is overwhelmingly supported by voters from every party and region.”
From SUNY institutions, to local governments, to school districts, to public health care institutions, there is an explosion of personnel expenses to cover the pensions and benefits of retirees; expenses which often are in excess of the costs of current employees. The Partnership asks the New York State Legislature to address this crisis by joining with the Governor to implement a new pension tier for all new employees. The impact is long term, but it's enormous – it’s an opportunity to fix our state’s unsustainable pension system and provide long overdue tax relief for New Yorkers.