State Sen. George Maziarz, R-C-Newfane, has announced the introduction of bills S5935 and S5936, which aim to help control the cost of the state pension system. Under current law, officers and employees of private organizations such as the state Association of Counties, the state School Boards Association and the Association of Towns are all eligible to participate in New York's retirement system. The proposed legislation will exclude future employees from these organizations from participating in the state retirement system, and will stop the accumulation of additional pension credits by current employees upon the effective date of the bill.
"While the NYS retirement system is a benefit for hardworking public employees and a benefit to local governments to attract and retain qualified employees, it is also a financial burden to local governments," Maziarz said. "This legislation will reduce pension costs by ensuring that those who participate in the NYS retirement system are those that are public employees. Under the current law, officers and employees of certain private organizations such as NYS Association of Counties, NYS School Board Association and the Association of Towns qualify for a public pension. Some of the individuals from these private organizations earn six-figure salaries and are registered lobbyists! It is outrageous that NY residents are required to pay the costs of public pensions for private employees, and this package of legislation will put a stop to it."
According the state Office of the State Comptroller, for the 2011-12 fiscal year, contributions to the retirement system from government employers totaled more than $4.5 billion. Not only are those private employees receiving benefits in the retirement system, but they often lobby the state government to reduce the high cost of pensions for local governments, all while their employees and officers are collecting benefits that exacerbate the high cost of the pension system.
"There are many hard-working public employees that deserve a public pension, and the system should be maintained for those individuals," Maziarz said. "It is unfair for New York taxpayers to also shoulder the burden of paying for pension benefits for private employees and registered lobbyists, particularly as residents face an ever-increasing tax burden, diminished home values and an uncertain economic outlook. My legislation will reduce pension costs and, in turn, provide relief to hardworking taxpayers. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate and Assembly to pass these bills when we return to session in Albany."