As New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo keeps pushing to balance his state's budget on the backs of public workers, unions are pushing back, with nearly 2,000 union members and allies joining in Albany Tuesday to protest Cuomo's planned pension cuts:
Cuomo [...] has said that if lawmakers send him a spending plan without the measure, he’ll force the Legislature to choose between shutting the government or passing his plan by using a so-called budget extender. The process is used to keep the government operating when there’s no agreement on the budget. The governor has the power to put any item in an extender.Unions aren't the only ones opposing Cuomo; not only does Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver say that "The governor has to work out with the unions a reasonable approach to save the money," but the Republican Senate deputy majority leader is urging Cuomo to negotiate. The New York state comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, is also speaking out strongly against Cuomo's manufactured crisis:
“Anti-pension advocates have commandeered the debate and co-opted the media to such an extent that many in the public now accept the premise that state pension plans are bankrupting states and localities and hurting middle-class taxpayers,” Mr. DiNapoli said at the National Institute of Retirement Security's retirement policy conference in Washington.
“I not only find those broad-stroke mischaracterizations inaccurate, but also harmful to a thoughtful debate,” said Mr. DiNapoli, the sole trustee of the Albany, N.Y.-based pension fund.
"The bottom line is, scrapping defined benefit public pensions for 401(k)s would undermine retirement security for even more Americans, and add even more uncertainty to our economy," DiNapoli continued. Cuomo and others trying to take away the security of pensions from public workers characterize them as too lavish, but, according to AFSCME, the average public worker pension in New York is just $19,000, and workers have already made major concessions in other areas at Cuomo's demand.