Cuomo threatens budget showdown over pension reform

PHOTO: Karen DeWitt, NY Public Radio

Governor Andrew Cuomo is threatening to force pension reform through a recalcitrant state legislature if his proposals are not agreed to as part of the state budget.

Cuomo, who’s seeking a new benefit tier with lowered pension payments and a 401k option, says if the legislature does not agree with his plan by the time the state budget is due March 31st,  he may try to force the proposal through as part of a budget spending extender.

“If we come to a resolution with the legislature, fine,” Cuomo said. “Otherwise the alternative mechanism is through extenders.”

The governor says he hasn’t given up yet, and is talking to key lawmakers, as well as meeting with union leaders, though he denies that he is “negotiating” with the unions over pension reform. Cuomo also would not rule out separating the issue of pension reform from the budget altogether, though he says it’s a “vital part” of his spending plan.