State leaders noncommittal on new pension tier

PHOTO: Karen DeWitt / NY Public Radio

Legislative leaders spoke to a large gathering of AFSCME union members at the Capitol Tuesday who are opposed to Governor Cuomo’s pension reform plans. They offered support to the workers but remained neutral on the controversial issue.

Senate Deputy Majority Leader Tom Libous told union members the Senate wants to crack down on pension abuse, but he did not mention Governor Cuomo’s plan for a new pension tier with reduced benefits and the option of a 401k style plan. Afterward, Senator Libous would not commit to the governor’s proposal, other than to say further discussions are necessary .

“It needs a lot of work,” said Libous.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who told AFSCME members that they should not be punished for the Wall Street crash,, says details of pension reform must first be settled between Cuomo and the unions.

The governor wants the legislature to approve pension reform as part of the new state budget, which is due at the end of the month.