Say this for Sheldon Silver, who steps down today after more than two decades as state Assembly speaker: He’s doing New York taxpayers an unexpected favor.

Not only will Silver be saving taxpayers nearly $10,000 a year by not giving up his Assembly seat, he’s driving home a much-needed lesson about the urgent need for public-pension reform.

That’s because, as the Empire Center for Public Policy notes, the 70-year-old Silver will cost taxpayers less as a sitting assemblyman than he would if he retired and started collecting his pension.

As an assemblyman for the Lower East Side, Silver’s salary is $79,500 a year. But if he were to simply retire, his annual pension would come to $87,120 — and possibly even more, if his prior job as a Civil Court clerk gives him more credits.

But hang on: Silver may not be so lucky after all.

If found guilty on corruption charges, he not only faces up to 20 years in prison, he could lose his retirement nest egg. That’s because US Attorney Preet Bharara uses fines and forfeitures to deny New York pols convicted of corruption their public pensions.

In the past, Bharara has put it this way: “We aim to prevent corrupt elected officials from continuing to benefit from pensions paid for by the very people they betrayed in office.”

Now that’s pension reform.

© 2015 New York Post

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The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.

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