In times of economic hardship, we often need our government to act more like a responsible business and less like a bureaucracy. Government needs to treat its citizens with the same respect we treat customers and manage our tax dollars with the same fiscal discipline we treat our balance sheets.
Unfortunately for years, our state government in Albany embraced only the worst traits of an intractable and often corrupt bureaucracy. Instead of acting like a business, Albany just practiced business as usual. With powerful special interests working behind the scenes, Albany had failed to make the difficult decisions that would help steady our state or secure our financial future, including the most important one of all: reforming our unsustainable pension system.
Thankfully, this time we have a leader in state Government who gets it. More importantly, he is not just talking but actually doing something. Over the past fifteen months of his administration, Governor Cuomo has repeatedly shown his ability to lead our state toward a more prosperous future by operating the state government with the efficiency and effectiveness of a business.
There is no better example in our state government than the passage of the recent reforms to our public pension system. Regardless of the fierce resistance to pension reform from special interests, any operator of a business could have looked at the costs of New York’s pension system and seen that they were simply unsustainable. Pension costs to local governments rose more than 650% in the last ten years, causing a corresponding increase in property taxes. With businesses paying 35% of all property taxes in the state, this has been a tremendous strain on New York’s private sector.
Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, and with support from many Senator’s and Assembly members, our state government finally overcame years of inaction to reform the pension system. Tier VI will provide long-term, statewide savings of $80 billion, relieving pressure on the budgets of local governments and allowing them to invest in programs that will continue to support all New Yorkers. Tier VI also makes New York’s pension plan competitive with other states and the private sector. It only applies to future employees, who will be asked to contribute slightly more to their pension and who will have the ability to make an informed choice about their retirement plans. Not a single current state worker will lose any benefits or have to pay anything more into the pension system.
By continuing to take on the big problems facing our state with fairness, determination, and bold leadership, Governor Cuomo will keep delivering results for the people and businesses of New York. But, it is important that we, the voters, thank not only the governor but also those elected officials that supported Tier VI. Don’t let the emotional, misinformation campaigns take away that this vote was good for all New York residents.
Bold votes should be rewarded with a sincere thank you. So my thanks to each and every Senator and Assembly member that voted for Tier VI. Finally we had leaders emerge who did what was best for the taxpayers of the state.