Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, joining a parade of officials from around the country who are seeking to rein in spending by limiting public employees’ pensions, proposed Wednesday to broadly limit retirement benefits for new city and state workers in New York.
Wading into one of the most controversial and challenging issues facing state and municipal governments, Mr. Cuomo said New York State and New York City simply could no longer afford to offer new employees the generous benefits their predecessors received.
“The numbers speak for themselves — the pension system as we know it is unsustainable,” the governor said in a statement. “This bill institutes common-sense reforms to bring government benefits more in line with the private sector while still serving our employees and protecting our retirees.”
Mr. Cuomo’s proposal escalates a battle between the first-term Democrat and a major Democratic Party constituency, public-sector labor unions. Unions have been fighting against pension changes around the nation, and in New York they have sparred with Mr. Cuomo over layoffs during contract negotiations, which continue.
“Congratulations to Governor Cuomo for another grandstand play for the attention of his millionaire friends at the expense of the real working people of New York,” Danny Donohue, president of a large public employee union, C.S.E.A., said in a statement. “Governor Cuomo’s proposal can only be viewed as an attack on working people to score some cheap political points.”
And the president of the New York State Public Employees Federation, Kenneth Brynien, attacked the proposal as “draconian pension cuts that would inflict permanent damage on middle-class workers such as nurses, parole officers, bridge inspectors and cancer researchers for what is a transient problem.”
“This is about politics and placating big-business special interests, plain and simple,” Mr. Brynien added.
Nothing will happen this legislative session, but you can bet Tea Party Governor Cuomo will push hard to get this next session.
And don't kid yourself - once they get the changes for future employees, they will come back and look to push changes for current employees too - and maybe even retirees.
Because the only thing we can afford in 2011 America is tax cuts for rich people, tax subsidies for corporations and endless wars overseas.