Cahill Calls for Override of Governor's Early Retirement Veto

August 4, 2006

Assemblymember Kevin Cahill (D Ulster, Dutchess) has asked Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to reconvene the house to override Governor Pataki's veto of the Legislature's state workforce reduction plan. Last month the Governor vetoed legislation that would have allowed public employees to retire with no penalties if they have 25 years of service and are 55 years old or older.

"Once again Governor Pataki has demonstrated a callous insensitivity to the needs of state workers and, at the same time, thwarted a significant source of relief for taxpayers," Assemblymember Cahill said. "The Governor's claim that this plan is unaffordable is preposterous since it would cost a small fraction of the targeted early retirement incentive he proposed."

The Legislature's plan would allow the state to effectively prepare for the workforce demographic shifts that are anticipated as the baby boomers begin to retire. The bill aims to increase the ability of public employers to attract younger, lower salaried public servants to replace senior, higher salaried public employees who have already met the minimum age and service requirements for retirement. This cost effective early retirement incentive will immediately reduce payrolls and encourage an influx of younger public servants without impacting the delivery of public services.

The Governor, in his Executive Budget, proposed his own version of an early retirement incentive that was quickly labeled as a "golden parachute" because it was designed to benefit many members of his administration who will be looking for work once Mr. Pataki leaves office at the end of the year. The last time the state undertook a targeted early retirement incentive similar to what the Governor proposed, the cost was about $450 million.

"It is a shame that the Governor is too pre-occupied with providing his friends with a soft landing to look out for the long-term fiscal needs of the state," said Mr. Cahill.