More than 2,900 state and local government retirees are receiving pensions larger than $100,000, according to pension data added today to, the Empire Center’s newly relaunched transparency website.

The data show 2,931 retirees received six-figure pensions during the New York State and Local Retirement System’s (NYSLRS) 2015 fiscal year ending March 31, up from 2,700 during the previous fiscal year. The majority of the largest annual pensions, 1,777, are owed to members of the Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS).

Ten pensions exceeded $200,000. The largest pension paid by the system, for the sixth consecutive year, went to George M. Philip, the former executive director of the state Teachers’ Retirement System and former president of SUNY Albany. Philip’s pension benefit in fiscal 2015 was $261,649.

ERS members retiring with at least 35 years of service in 2014 were eligible for average pension benefits of $52,517, and newly retired PFRS members with the same years of service were eligible for average pensions of $89,657. The average pension for all employees retiring in calendar year 2014, including those who spent only part of their careers on government payrolls, came to $27,078 for ERS members and $68,972 for PFRS members.

Pensions for the 394,020 retirees in this data set totaled $9.7 billion, up from $9.3 billion last year.

This data release is part of the Empire Center’s roll out of a totally redesigned SeeThroughNY. The new web platform has many new features, including:

  • a mobile and tablet-friendly interface;
  • new search features; and
  • easy-to-share search results.

The Empire Center is a non-partisan, non-profit independent think tank based in Albany. The redesigned SeeThroughNY includes payroll and pension data for state and local government employees and retirees; detailed expenditure data for the state Legislature; comparative statistics on local government spending; a searchable database of state revenue and expenditures;and copies of public employee contracts, including teacher union, school superintendent, local police and fire contracts..


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