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February 8, 2012

Let New York Work Calls for Passage of Tier VI
Proposal critical for the communities to remain affordable

Albany N.Y. - The leaders of the Let New York Work are calling on all state legislators to join with the governor and support his plan to create a Tier VI retirement for future employees, an essential step to improve the pension system for employees and make our communities more affordable.

Let New York Work - A Common Agenda for the Common GoodLet NY Work: A Common Agenda for the Common Good is a historic effort led by a coalition of prominent business, local government and educational organizations. The purpose of the initiative is to advance six critical points to enact significant mandate relief. Passage of Tier VI is one of those points, all of which are aimed at helping stabilize New York's economy and provide a sense of security for all taxpayers.

"NYCOM enthusiastically supports Gov. Cuomo's bold, yet responsible Tier VI pension reform proposal. The plan's rightsizing of benefits and increased cost-sharing for future public employees will serve as a positive legacy for local governments, their employees and - most importantly - property taxpayers for generations to come,” said Peter Baynes, executive director of NYCOM. “New York cannot afford to not pass this legislation. Without it, local governments will steadily lose the fiscal capacity to hire employees, much less pay their pensions. This is a critically important step on the road to sustainable property tax relief for New Yorkers. If state legislators are serious about authentic mandate relief, they must pass the governor's Tier VI plan."

“New York must fix our current unsustainable pension system. It's unreasonable to expect our hardworking taxpayers and business-owners to continue footing the bill for exorbitant state and local pension costs, which will have a price tag of $2 billion in 2014,” said Heather Briccetti, president and CEO of The Business Council of New York State, Inc. “Enacting the governor's proposal will help provide much-needed relief to localities and move New York along the path to financial stability and renewed economic growth.”

"The Tier VI retirement proposal advanced by Gov. Cuomo is a fair and balanced approach to containing pension costs in New York," said Brian Sampson, executive director of Unshackle Upstate. "It is fair for the taxpayers of this state to be relieved of a tremendous burden and it is fair to future workers. Not only will they have a choice of a retirement plan, but what they contribute will be based on their pay and they will share the risk/reward with their employer. What more could be balanced and equitable for taxpayers and future employees?"

Mandate relief for local governments and school districts is central to efforts at reducing the tax burden on New Yorkers and making our communities more affordable. It was one of the reasons that many supported the implementation of New York's property tax cap.

 “The last 12 months have seen the adoption of many positive pro-growth policies that are improving our business environment and strengthening New York agriculture,” said Dean Norton, president of the New York Farm Bureau. That said, we need to take additional and substantial steps this year if we want to begin to reverse decades of damaging economic decisions and policies. New York Farm Bureau members are very supportive of one such step recently outlined by Gov. Cuomo that will begin the process of the state assuming the local portion of Medicaid costs. Lifting this burden from localities will lead to lower property taxes for our farms, more support for local agriculture programs and a better rural economy.”

"The necessity for significant mandate relief for New York's small business owners and taxpayers has never been needed more. Within Gov. Cuomo's executive budget proposal lie provisions that provide taxpayers a tremendous opportunity for substantial long-term savings and opens the door for more immediate financial relief," said Mike Durant, state director for the National Federation of Independent Business. "The governor's public pension proposal is a considerable opportunity for small business owners and taxpayers and I urge the legislature to embrace these avenues of change and commit to moving New York forward as a fiscally responsible and business-friendly state."

In a review of pension costs by the New York State Division of Budget, pension costs are expected to rise 185 percent from 2009-2015. Those costs, unless neutralized, will fall squarely on the taxpayers of New York. That is a level of financial strain that is simply unsustainable.

“The governor's proposal to add a new tier to the state pension system is a win-win for school districts and employees. While the plan would help schools stem rising employer contribution costs over the long term, it also would give employees the option of a portable, defined contribution plan should they choose to leave public employment,” said New York State School Boards Association Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer.

The members of Let New York Work will be in Albany on February 14th for a series of visits with elected officials. The day, called We Love Mandate Relief, will focus on the intent of the six points plan and the group will ask members of the legislature to support the effort.

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The Business Council of New York State, Inc., is the premier business organization in New York State, representing the interests of large and small firms throughout the state.

All told, our members employ more than 1.2 million New Yorkers. We serve as an advocate for employers in the state political and policy-making arena, working for a healthier business climate, economic growth, and jobs.