Political Corner: Your Pension is Under Attack

Friday, October 13, 2017

A Message from Political Action Coordinator Michael Cipriano 

Did you know that Article 5, Section 7, of the NYS Constitution states, "Membership in any pension or retirement system of the state shall be a contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired"? 

Since 1940, NYS public employees have been able to rest easy knowing that working hard throughout their career will allow them to live a secure and comfortable life in retirement. If the NYS Constitution is opened, there is the possibility of retirement insecurity for public employees. Politicians want you to believe that the pension system is destroying the NYS economy, while the reality is, a NYS pension only makes our economy stronger. 

Here are some facts for you to consider about our strong pensions system: 

  1. For the past 20 years, NYS taxpayers contributed an average of 11 cents on the dollar to the pension system. NYS employees contributed 3 percent, while 86 percent of the pension fund growth comes from investment earnings. Earnings on investments - NOT taxpayer based contributions have historically made up the bulk of pension fund earnings!   
  2. The NYS Teachers Retirement System boasts a funded ratio of nearly 100% and is considered one of the strongest funds in the country, if not the world. 
  3. Pensions provide jobs and predictability in the economy. In 2014, expenditures from state and local pensions supported:
    • 215,867 jobs that paid 12.5 billion dollars in wages and salaries.
    • 35.3 billion dollars in total economic output. 
    • 8.1 billion dollars in tax revenue. 

After a Constitutional Convention, even if our pension system remains intact, more than likely there will be changes made that will allow the state to reduce the amount of money we receive in retirement. One simple change would be for the State to tax our pension earnings, which would lead to a reduction of 6-7% for the average pensioner. This change would affect both future and current people receiving a pension from New York State.  

Bottom line - the NYS pension system is not broken; therefore, it does not need fixing.....VOTE NO on November 7th to opening the NYS Constitution!

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