Taxpayers On Hook For More Six-Figure Pensions

| Press Releases

The number of retirees receiving pensions over $100,000 from the New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS) continued to increase during the system’s 2017 fiscal year, according to data uploaded today to SeeThroughNY, the Empire Center’s transparency website.

A total of 3,817 retirees collected pensions over $100,000 during the fiscal year ending March 31. Among them were 2,352 retired uniformed police officers or firefighters, more than half of whom retired from the Nassau County (879) or Suffolk County (400) governments.

“The number of taxpayer-supported six-figure pensions is going to keep growing,” said Tim Hoefer, executive director of the Empire Center. “Every year Albany waits to modernize our public retirement system and place new employees in a more sustainable defined-contribution plan puts our children and grandchildren on the hook for more future risk.”

The number of six-figure pensioners in fiscal 2017 rose 18 percent from the previous year. In fiscal 2016, there were 3,230 NYSLRS retirees, including 1,939 former police officers and firefighters, eligible for $100,000 or more. The average pension for all NYSLRS-member police and firefighters retiring in calendar 2016 after at least 20 years of service was $76,172. For all other NYSLRS members retiring in 2016 after at least 30 years of service, the average was $47,720. The figures do not include social security benefits, for which NYSLRS retirees are also eligible once they reach the social security retirement age.

The biggest pension went to Dr. Shashikant Lele, a former senior staff member at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, who was eligible to collect $436,356. Statewide, another 16 pensions exceeded $200,000.

The data include pension records for 410,764 retirees from state government, public authorities, counties, towns, villages, cities not including New York City, special districts and school districts.

The Empire Center, based in Albany, is an independent, not-for-profit, non-partisan think tank dedicated to promoting policies that can make New York a better place to live, work and do business.