The Citizens Budget Commission hosted Deputy Mayor Bob Steel this morning for a pension-fix presentation.

Despite some new bells’n’whistles, the city’s pension proposal is still the same: ask Gov. Cuomo to raise the retirement age to 65 for non-uniformed workers, require 6 percent pension contributions from everyone, and eliminate overtime from pension considerations for everyone, too.

The city still wants control, too, to negotiate its own pensions with its unions, rather than rely on Albany to set pension law, although Steel said lack of such control wouldn’t be a deal-breaker in the mayor’s support for state pension reform.

Problem is, one of the new bells (or whistles) is a distraction.

Steel noted that every extra one percent return for the pension fund annually saves the city $1 billion. To that end, the city wants to improve the “risk adjusted return of the fund,” getting a change in the “basket clause” from Albany that would allow the city’s pension funds to invest more assets in international equities and the like (he didn’t mention alternative investments, which is good).

Noting that New York is one of the world’s “great financial capitals, if there’s one thing we have an abundance of, it’s investment expertise,” Steel noted.

Maybe. But a lot of people already have a hard time grasping the necessity for big changes to public pension benefits in New York City. It’s not a good idea, then, to give people a new hope, even obliquely, that superior asset management can solve even part of the problem.

You may also like

SALT’s on the Table 

A bill passed this morning in the U.S. House of Representatives would lift the cap on state and local income tax (SALT) deductions from $10,000 to $80,000. Read More

NY’s October job harvest was bountiful (but labor force still shrinking)

New York just tallied its biggest year-to-year October private-sector job gain on record, according to the state's latest monthly state Labor Department report. Read More

The Health Department takes a big step toward COVID transparency

The state Health Department released a flurry of 20 COVID-related data sets this week, taking its biggest step yet toward full transparency about the state's pandemic response. Read More

NY teacher pension fund tweaks return assumption down, taxpayer costs up

The taxpayer share of pension costs in New York's suburban and upstate school districts will rise by up to $100 million in 2022-23 as a result of actuarial changes approved last week by trustees of NYSTRS. Read More

When COVID-19 struck, a lot of the state’s pandemic stockpile was out of date

Much of the material in the state's pandemic stockpile had passed its expiration date when the coronavirus crisis struck in March 2020, according to newly released Health Department records. Read More

Sluggish in September: NY job growth still trails U.S.

New York's employment recovery slowed to a near halt in the crucial month of September, falling further behind the national growth rate in the 18th full month since the pandemic hit in March 2020, according to and federal monthly job reports. Read More

The Health Department’s response to a FOIL request for nursing home data triggers 2020 déjà vu

Despite Governor Hochul's promise of transparency, the Health Department keeps responding to requests for COVID data with tactics from the Cuomo administration Read More

How Are the Billions in Emergency Aid to New York Being Spent?

A new  posted yesterday on the Comptroller’s website could become the lens through which New Yorkers see how tens of billions of dollars in one-shot federal funding is being spent by governm Read More


Sign up to receive updates about Empire Center research, news and events in your email.


Empire Center for Public Policy
30 South Pearl St.
Suite 1210
Albany, NY 12207

Phone: 518-434-3100

General Inquiries:

Press Inquiries:


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.

Empire Center Logo Enjoying our work? Sign up for email alerts on our latest news and research.
Together, we can make New York a better place to live and work!