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Legislative Memo

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BILL:

S. 2720-A (Larkin)/A. 4594-A (Abbate)

Support

SUBJECT:

Permits certain Triborough Bridge & Tunnel Members to retire and collect benefits after 20 year of service

 

DATE:

June 4, 2008

 

The Business Council of New York State opposes this legislation, which would permit certain Triborough Bridge & Tunnel employees to retire with half-pay after twenty year of service, regardless of age.  Similar versions of this bill were vetoed in 2004, 2005 and 2006.    The bill estimates an annual cost of fully funding this enhanced pension plan at $1million, with that estimate provided by an actuary outside the pension system whose estimates have recently been called into question.

Negotiation of public employee pension plan changes should be conducted as a part of the collective bargaining process, with full disclosure of the actual costs for providing any level of enhanced benefits, and with an economic impact statement which displays the true cost to taxpayers for providing such a benefit.

With various indicators pointing to an economic downturn, and with a slowing of tax revenues at the state level, now is not the time to be providing generous pension benefit increase to some public employees.  The conditions cited in the bill which would warrant such a pension plan are better addressed through collective bargaining discourse around safety and health solutions related to the working conditions of the TBTA employees. There is no indication that this legislation reflects the concurrence of the employer and the collective bargaining agent and it is clear the bill's does not accurately reflect the cost of providing the enhanced pension benefit.

For these reasons, and in the interest of advancing government accountability, The Business Council opposes this legislation.