Last week, Binghamton Mayor Matthew Ryan attacked the State’s current proposal to finally bring real reform to our pension system. This is the second time an elected official, the first being Comptroller DiNapolli,  has come out against the issue of 401Ks.   It is also the second time an official 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.  As a result, the rising cost of pensions has become one of the largest financial burdens on our State and our local governments.  For years our pension system has developed into a ticking time bomb, as benefits and costs have grown past what our government can manage and our tax payers can afford.  

The real truth is that without reform our pension system is unsustainable; continuing to do nothing or offer half measures only jeopardizes the hard earned pensions of our teachers, firefighters, officers and all other state/local  workers.  If we really care about the security of what has been promised to today’s workforce, we must adopt a new pension reform plan.

Governor Cuomo has introduced an innovative plan for reform that treats future workers fairly and provides them a plan similar to what roughly 90% of New York residents receive. The plan for Tier VI will save the tax payers more than $100 billion dollars over 30 years.  This pension reform plan is necessary, fair and remember, doesn’t even affect a single current employee.

Last year the governor, elected officials, labor unions, advocacy groups and the people of our state rallied around a common goal of putting our State back on the right track. Now it’s time to move past the problems of today to solve the even larger problems of tomorrow.  Without sacrifice, compromise and working together we are only perpetuating a growing crisis..  We need to come together again as New Yorkers to reform our pension system and give our state workers and our state a bright and secure future.

A good friend of mine summed it up nicely.  He said, “Perhaps Mayor Ryan and Comptroller DiNapoli should focus on what the voters and taxpayers are saying, and according to the recent Siena College poll, an overwhelming majority of voters, including union households, support Tier VI.“ They’d rather subject the taxpayers of New York State to the volatility of the stock market than back a reasonable plan that begins to lessen the risks assumed by the taxpayers.  Someone should point that out the next time they are up for reelection. Let’s stop playing games and distorting the facts and pass Tier VI.