An influential state lawmaker from Brooklyn is blasting Mayor de Blasio for holding up legislation that boosts pension benefits for injured cops and firefighters.

Assemblyman Peter Abbate, a Democrat who is chairman of the chamber’s Governmental Employees Committee, accused de Blasio of strong-arming the City Council into not approving a formal request that Albany lawmakers need to take up the pension bill.

“He’s going all around the country talking about raising the minimum wage and $15 an hour for McDonald’s workers, which I’m not against, but he doesn’t want (the pension bill),” Abbate told the Daily News.

“To me, that’s kind of unfair to the people who put their lives on the line,” Abbate said.

The bill, which has bipartisan support in Albany and is heavily favored by union leaders, would give uniformed New York City personnel hired after 2009 the same disability pension — 75% of their annual salary — that cops and firefighters hired before then get.

It would effectively negate a cost-saving measure implemented by Gov. David Paterson and lawmakers during the recession. That measure gave newly hired officers disability pensions equal to only 50% of their annual salary.

Gov. Cuomo, who pushed a set of pension-saving measures through the Legislature in 2012, also supports the bill.

De Blasio opposes it as too costly, noting it would mean an extra $342.1 million over five years. He has pushed his own plan for a more modest boost to benefits for newer cops and firefighters.

De Blasio spokeswoman Amy Spitalnick said the mayor’s proposal balances competing needs.

“It delivers for our workers without rolling back Gov. Cuomo’s vital reforms to our pension system that protect the taxpayer — reforms that the legislature itself passed and the governor signed only a few years ago,” she added.

Abbate, who trashed de Blasio’s plan as insufficient, contends the mayor has pressured the City Council into ignoring its own rule that requires any bill with at least 35 sponsors to get a public hearing. 

Without permission from the Council — a home rule message — the Legislature can’t take up the bill.

“You got the governor onboard, the Senate onboard, the Assembly onboard and he’s intimidated the Council into not doing the home rule message,” he said.

Eric Koch, a spokesman for City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, said the Council was “reviewing and analyzing the proposed legislation.”

The pension bill is one of nearly fourdozen bills currently before the Legislature that would boost pension benefits for municipal workers in the city and around the state, according to E.J. McMahon of the Empire Center for Public Policy.

If they were approved, costs to city taxpayers would increase by nearly $500million over five years, McMahon said. 

You may also like

Pensions New York taxpayers can’t afford

Another day, another shocking Empire Center revelation. Announcing the latest update to its SeeThroughNY database of New York public employee pensions, the watchdog flagged the city government retirees now scoring the highest pensions. Read More

Fiscal Watchdog Wins Open Records Case

The Empire Center for Public Policy on Monday notched a victory in state court Monday after a judge found the names of retired New York City police officers who receive pensions are public records that must be released. Read More

EDITORIAL: FOILed by a judge: Manhattan jurist Melissa Crane must speed it up on making police pensions public

Long ago the Empire Center for Public Policy asked the NYPD Pension Fund for the names of retirees and how much each is paid, to add the data to its indispensable database on how New York taxpayer dollars are spent. Read More

Cuomo, Legislature weighing tax on Manhattan pieds-à-terre

“The premise of the pied-à-terre tax — get money from wealthy nonresidents — sounds reasonable on the surface,” said E.J. McMahon of the fiscally conservative Empire Center for Public Policy think tank. “The main problem with the idea is the assumption that an entirely new tax is needed in what’s already the nation’s most heavily taxed and wealthy big city, in order to fund the capital plan of a transit system that has yet to demonstrate it can effectively spend the money it already has.” Read More

Super superintendent pensions soar over $200,000 for 12 Hudson Valley schools chiefs

Overall, 52 educators from the Hudson Valley in 2018 were eligible for pensions of $160,000 or more, according to a report issued by SeeThroughNY, an online project of the Empire Center for Public Policy in Albany. Read More

City workers’ pension funds hinge on Mayor de Blasio’s environmental stand

Tens of thousands of Long Islanders' pension funds are invested in gas and oil holdings. New York City wants to divest about $3.7 billion from them because of climate change. Read More

Conservative group sues pension fund for not releasing info on NYPD retirees

The Empire Center has filed a petition in state Supreme Court that claims the city acted “unlawfully” in failing to provide an accounting of pensions of former NYPD cops. Read More

Put down the shield: Police should turn over pension data to the public

Pensions for government retirees have been public information in New York since forever, but for nearly a decade, the Empire Center for Public Policy has been trying to collect and publish names and dollar figures on its website — only to be stymied by the pension funds. 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!