new-york-state-senate-150x150-6159412Nearly six months after being passed by the state Legislature, two bills with significant implications for public pension benefit levels and costs in New York finally have been sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo for his veto or signature.

The broadest of the two measures, A9643A, would expand the share of public pension funds that can be invested in complex, high-risk alternative assets such as private equity and hedge funds. It would raise, from to 30 percent from 25 percent, New York’s statutory “basket clause” cap on such investments.

If Cuomo signs the bill, the New York State and New York City pension funds will move further in the opposite direction from the $300 billion California Public Employees’ Retirement System (Calpers), which recently announced it would eliminate its investment in hedge funds due to their “complexity, cost, and the lack of ability to scale.”

Another bill, S7757, would benefit uniformed state court officers hired since April 1, 2012, by lowering their “normal” retirement age to 62 from 63 and restoring the option of retiring at age 55 after 30 years of service. As explained here, the bill would have a minimal immediate cost but would represent the first attempted rollback of any provision of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “bold and transformational” Tier 6 pension package of 2012.

The bills, both of which passed near the end of session in June by lopsided margins with no debate, were sent to the governor on Friday, Dec. 5. His 10-day period (excluding Sundays) for signing or vetoing each measure expires Dec. 17.

Another pension-related bill sent to the governor last week was A9162, which would, as described by the Citizens Budget Commission, “circumvent a recent court ruling by allowing Tier III and V police and firefighters hired between July 1, 2009 and March 31, 2012, who may have been working under an expired collective bargaining agreement, to join an optional 20-year retirement plan without any employee contributions.”

About the Author

E.J. McMahon

Edmund J. McMahon is Empire Center's founder and a senior fellow.

Read more by E.J. McMahon

You may also like

One Brooklyn Health’s Money Troubles Raise a Billion-Dollar Question

A brewing fiscal crisis at One Brooklyn Health, which has received more than $1 billion in turnaround funding from the state, raises the question of whether that money has been well spent. Read More

Another battery flop zaps NY taxpayers

Plans to lure a Canadian battery company to the Hudson Valley with a slew of government incentives, including job-creation tax credits, loans, and federal subsidies, appear to be a dud. It’s a reminder that when it comes to picking winners in the energy-storage space, taxpayers are often losers. Read More

Hochul Signals Tough Budget Ahead

Governor Hochul’s administration this week urged agency heads to keep their budgets flat next year. It's the most serious acknowledgement yet of state government’s looming financial shortfall. Read More

NYSERDA’s Roadmap to Nowhere  

New York school districts face a multi-billion dollar unfunded mandate to convert to electric school buses. While the transition will cost between $8 and $15 billion above the cost of buying traditional buses, less than $1 billion in state and federal aid is likely to be available to help schools cover the cost. Read More

Back to School: New York Style

Class is in session across the state, and things are messy (especially in New York City).  Read More

Federal Staffing Rule Would Compound Hiring Pressure for New York Nursing Homes

Nursing homes that are struggling – and mostly failing – to comply with the state's two-year-old minimum staffing law would face even stiffer hiring challenges under newly proposed federal standards. Read More

New Wind Energy Costs Blow the Doors Off Projections

The myth that New York can replace fossil fuel power plants with cheap renewable energy has begun to crumble under renewable developers’ demands for higher prices to offset inflation and supply chain challenges.  Read More

What DFS Doesn’t Want To Tell You About Soaring Health Premiums

When the Department of Financial Services made its annual announcement about health insurance price increases last week, it neglected to mention one thing: how much the prices were increasing. Read More

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!