Unshackle Upstate, the Rochester-based business group, today knocked Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan’s opposition to a new pension tier, saying Ryan is another elected official who has “has failed to point out the realities we face in New York.”
“For years, scare tactics and special interest guided arguments have prevented our state from adopting true pension reform,” Brian Sampson, the group’s executive director said on its blog. “As a result, the rising cost of pensions has become one of the largest financial burdens on our state and our local governments.”
Ryan last week wrote an op-ed in the Times Union that criticized Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan for a less generous pension tier for new public employees.
Cuomo’s proposal would give new public workers the option of a 401k-type retirement system, and the plan has been hailed by local governments as a way to curb growing pension costs.
But Ryan and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli have both so far knocked the plan and said it wouldn’t necessarily save taxpayers’ money and could lead to risky retirement accounts for workers.
“Even if a 401(k) plan were optional, it would be dangerous for our retirees, both economically and morally,” Ryan wrote. “The point of 401(k) plans was to supplement pensions, not replace them. Using a 401(k) in place of a defined benefit pension would undercut the financial security that our workers deserve.”
Meanwhile, the state Business Council is out with its own statement knocking DiNapoli’s concerns over the Tier VI proposal.
“We are surprised and disappointed by Comptroller DiNapoli’s attacks on pension reform. When given an honest presentation of the facts there should be little dispute that a Tier VI plan is needed in New York. Pension costs are exploding at all levels of government across the state and we are rapidly approaching a tipping point. Taxpayers are already struggling under the burden of existing pension obligations, and the Tier VI proposal will avoid this in future years without taking benefits away from anyone currently in the pension system,” said Heather Briccetti, President and CEO of The Business Council of New York State, Inc.