Well, what do you know? Seventy-one percent of public school teachers in New York think new teachers should be able to choose between a traditional defined-benefit pension and a defined-contribution (DC) plan, like the one available to State University of New York (SUNY) professors for nearly 50 years, according to a poll the Empire Center poll released today.

Indeed, 70 percent of teachers responding to our statewide survey said they would have considered a DC plan if it was available when they were hired, and 26 percent would have chosen it.  The vast majority of these teachers give high ratings to their unions — New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) and the United Federation of Teachers (UFT).  Yet NYSUT and UFT have spent the past two months stoking the flames of union opposition to pension reform in general, and to Governor Cuomo’s proposed DC option in particular.

So, let’s see:

  1. Taxpayers across the state need relief from rising pension costs.
  2. Within New York’s largest group of government employees, the vast majority favors a pension reform that would ameliorate costs, improve transparency and predictability, and take the burden of financial risk off the backs of taxpayers.

Before the rumored pension deal is sealed, Cuomo and the state Legislature might ask themselves, one more time, whose interests they’re trying to serve here — and how they will explain any agreement that fails to provide the kind of retirement plan option that most teachers actually want.

About the Author

E.J. McMahon

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

Read more by E.J. McMahon

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