Mayor Bloomberg's top political aide is vowing to win pension reform in Albany - and predicts he'll have better luck than his predecessors.
"I think we have a moment after the next election," Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson told leaders at a breakfast hosted by the Association for a Better New York.
"The winds of change are blowing and the next governor will have an opportunity to deal with some of these problems in a way that past governors have not because crisis creates its own opportunity," he added.
Budget reformers have tried for years to rein in spiraling pension costs that threaten to hobble the state and its major cities.
Resistance from powerful unions and their allies in the Legislature have thwarted their efforts.
State lawmakers must approve any changes to pension rules.
Wolfson said the crisis has become so severe, he thinks Albany will be open to reforms like changing the rules so New York City can negotiate pension benefits in collective bargaining - something now barred by law.
It won't be easy. The state's top public employee union says it will use every resource to block proposals like Wolfson's.
"There are problems with the pension system that need to be addressed but the idea that we need wholesale reform really is just an attempt to undermine workers," said Civil Service Employees Union boss Stephen Madarasz.
Crisis creates it's own opportunity.
Just what Rahm and Obama said about the financial crisis and education.
Just what Arne Duncan said about Katrina and New Orleans schools.
Now it is what Bloomberg, Cuomo and their oily flacks like Wolfson are saying about pensions.
So the workers will pay.
How about the hedge fund managers and banksters?
Will they still get state largesse?