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.