East Fishkill, NY - New York State Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I - East Fishkill) is calling yesterday's passage of the veterans' pension buy-back legislation an important win for New York veterans. Lalor has been a vocal proponent of the bill (see here and here).
"This bill benefits the men and women who served in the military's post-draft era, volunteering for our country," said Lalor. "Those who would benefit from this bill served in the post-draft era of the all-volunteer military. They volunteered to serve on ships and in garrisons at home and abroad keeping the Soviet war machine in check, and then maintained the peace after we won the Cold War. This bill does more than honor the service of veterans. It encourages the next generation to serve by reminding them that their state values and rewards service in defense of our nation."
Lalor continued, "Shockingly, Afghanistan veterans are excluded from the current buy-back program, while Iraq veterans are eligible. This bill fixes that and recognizes the service of Afghanistan vets."
Lalor added, "Importantly, the bill is funded, unlike the bill that was vetoed last year, so there is no chance it will be a burden to localities. In fact, there is an opportunity for savings by speeding up the retirement of senior employees and replacing them with Tier 6 employees or not replacing them at all if a replacement is unnecessary. I hope Governor Cuomo will move fast to sign this legislation."
The bill would allow veterans from any era to buy back up to three years of service credit in the public employee retirement systems for their military service. Currently, New York only allows veterans who served during specific conflicts to buy back service credit.