Budget, pension reform, and redistricting talks continue at the state capitol as the governor and legislative leaders push to work out some sort of deal. Capital Tonight's Nick Reisman has more on the negotiations.
NEW YORK STATE -- The airwaves jammed with advocacy ads. Noisy protests. Assurances of meeting an April First deadline .It's beginning to feel a lot like March in Albany as lawmakers begin the budget process while Governor Andrew Cuomo continues to push for pension cost savings, even if it means a government shutdown.
Governor Cuomo said on WSQX, “Here's the nightmare that's driving pension reform: Cities and counties in this state could go bankrupt.”
Cuomo's Tier Six inserted his pension plan into his $132.5 billion budget proposal; saving $83 billion over 30 years, but has no immediate savings in this year's budget. In pushing Tier Six, Cuomo has accused lawmakers of doing the bidding of public workers unions, not the voters. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver criticized the governor for his aggressive posture.
Sheldon Silver, Assembly Speaker said, “I think it's unfortunate. I think he should save his words for the negotiating table.”
Cuomo vows to put his pension plan into an emergency budget bill if lawmakers fail to pass it. Lawmakers would have to pass that bill or risk a state government shutdown. Legislative leaders insist they want some pension cost savings, just not necessarily Cuomo's plan.
Dean Skelos, Senate Majority Leader said, “We're too tied into the word Tier Six. I think there will be pension reform. I've indicated there should be pension reform. Now the governor is having ongoing discussions with different labor unions so we don't know exactly what that's going to be at this point.”
Backing up Cuomo, however, are two expensive advertising campaigns in favor of cutting pension costs. One is a $2.5 million campaign by the Committee to Save New York, a Cuomo-aligned coalition of businesses. Another is from a coalition of local officials led by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Tuesday at the Capitol brought not just the first meeting of the so-called Mothership, a joint budget committee of leaders from the Assembly and Senate, but also protests from union members against the pension plan.
Mario Cilento, AFL-CIO President said, “Albany lawmakers know exactly where the labor movement stands and that's in strong opposition in unity to Tier Six.