Empire Center for
New York State Policy
for Policy Research
Fiscal Watch Memos
Payroll Watch Archive
February 22, 2012
E.J. McMahon debated former state Assemblyman Richard Brodsky last night on a segment of “Capital Tonight.”
The lead up to this debate includes Governor Cuomo’s proposed modifications to the pension system in New York (including his proposal for an optional defined-contribution system), our paper released last week on the same subject and PEF president Ken Brynien’s recent comment that, “If the governor’s going to put something in the budget that’s unreasonable, maybe it should be shut down.” (more…)
October 28, 2011
Some leaders of the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) union received double-digit raises — despite a faltering economy, the Albany Times Union reports. But at least these union bosses aren’t paid with taxpayer money…
Oh, wait, union pres. Richard Iannuzzi, whose nearly $45,000 raise brought his base salary to more than $240,000, also collects a $102,000 taxpayer-funded pension (according to data available at SeeThroughNY). VP Kathleen Donahue collects more than $200,000 from NYSUT and a $60,000 taxpayer-funded pension.
October 7, 2011
Nicole Gelinas has a must-read op-ed in the New York Post today on the sinking fortunes of New York City’s financial sector. Her message:
Thanks to Washington’s support for big banks, New York City has been a cocoon of prosperity compared to the rest of the nation over the last three years.
But banks can’t stay on the dole forever — and the city’s done nothing in the 37 months since Lehman Bros. collapsed to prepare for a leaner Wall Street.
September 9, 2011
Fitch Ratings, the smallest of the big three credit agencies, has cut the rating on the state-run Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)’s $14.3 billion in debt that is backed by transportation revenues. Fitch dropped the rating from A+ to A.
One big problem? “Significant new debt” for the $23.8 billion capital plan, which will strain the operating budget for decades.
August 31, 2011
The Competitive Enterprise Institute has just released a new index that takes a comprehensive approach to measuring just how powerful government unions are in each of the 50 states.
Which state had the lowest ranking, denoting the most powerful unions?
Need you ask? Chalk up another #50 for the Empire State.
August 22, 2011
New York has the second highest-paid state police force in the country, the Gannett News Service (GNS) reported last week, based on both state payroll and U.S. Census records. GNS said the average salary for all ranks of state trooper came to $112,000 as of 2009 — although a separate data source indicates the average may be higher.
State government employees belonging to the Police and Fire Retirement System earned an average salary of $115,709 as of fiscal 2009-10, according to the retirement system’s latest available annual report. At the state level, PFRS pensions are limited to troopers and a relatively small number of others, such as park police and conservation officers, who generally earn lower base salaries. In any event, salaries are only part of it, as an Associated Press report pointed out: (more…)
August 10, 2011
If New York’s state government unions ultimately reject tentative contract deals with Governor Andrew Cuomo, the Triborough amendment may ultimately deserve part of the blame.
Triborough ensures that provisions of a public-sector union contract remain in effect even after the contract expires — which, in the state’s case, means rank-and-file union members can avoid proposed furloughs and health insurance concessions by rejecting the contracts their leaders have negotiated. Cuomo will then have little choice but to follow through on his threat to lay off up to 8,900 workers. However, layoffs aren’t necessarily much of a deterrent to the union members who have the most to lose under the tentative contracts, since the last-in, first-out rule ensures that layoffs affect only the most junior workers.
July 14, 2011
In a case with potentially far-reaching implications for local taxpayers across New York, a labor arbitrator has ruled that the city of White Plains, in Westchester County, has the right to require police retirees to begin contributing to their health insurance.
Last year, the city moved to curb its retiree costs by requiring police and fire retirees hired before 1995, as well as elected officials, to start paying 15 percent of their (previously free) health insurance premiums.
June 23, 2011
A coalition of state government employee unions in Connecticut reportedly is about to reject a proposed no-layoff contract deal hammered out last month with Governor Dannel Molloy.
It’s difficult to compare the Connecticut pact with the agreement reached yesterday by Governor Cuomo and New York’s largest state employee union, the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA). The complex Connecticut deal includes changes to pensions, which are not bargained under New York law.
In at least one crucial respect, however, Cuomo seems to have done much better than Molloy. (more…)
June 22, 2011
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After sailing unscathed (with steady pay hikes, no less) through a severe recession and fiscal crisis, members of New York’s largest state government union will belatedly make some relatively small, mostly temporary financial sacrifices under the tentative contract announced by Governor Cuomo today.
Key elements of the tentative contract agreement with the Civil Service Employees Association:
- A five year contract term, instead of the usual four. If Cuomo serves only one term, the next Governor will have to wait a year before negotiating any further changes in working conditions or compensation practices.