Fitzpatrick Statement On Gov’s Pension-Borrowing Scheme
“Governor Paterson’s plan to amortize local governments’ scheduled pension payments into the state retirement fund by borrowing from New York’s pension fund demonstrates, once and for all, that Albany’s spending spree is operating on borrowed time,” said Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick (R,C,I-Smithtown). “Already, Suffolk County’s municipal pension costs are 50 percent more than what they were last year; 2011’s expenses threaten to crowd out other priorities as unsustainable retirement packages eat up an even greater share of budgets. Without an overhaul of the retirement system, state and local governments will be faced with possible insolvency in the not-too-distant future.
“The governor must not ‘max out’ New York State’s credit card to pay for the contributions to the $130 billion pension fund. Instead, we need to create a better system whereby private-sector taxpayers will not be expected to bail out the public sector indefinitely. My legislation to cap the defined-benefit pensions of all elected officials in New York State as well as all political appointees would remove the incentive for the state Legislature and all municipalities to take the path of least resistance on the issue of employee compensation. In addition, by putting all new hires into a defined-contribution platform (such as a 401K plan), municipalities in New York State would be able to realize substantial savings in pension costs.
“We cannot borrow our way out of a pension crisis, Governor Paterson. The time for reform is now.”