NY State Backs Annual Pension Increases

June 14, 2000 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - In a first for one of the nation's largest pension systems, New York state lawmakers and governor George Pataki Tuesday agreed to give annual cost-of-living pension increases to retired state and local government workers.

Unions and politicians had pushed the measure for years, which was also backed by State Comptroller Carl McCall, who is seeking to build support for a planned run for the governor’s office in 2002.

The bill containing the agreement is expected to pass the legislature Wednesday, according to The New York Times. It follows a vote Monday that elimated pension contributions by state and local employees once they have worked for 10 years.

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New York City, which has less reserves to pay for the new automatic pensions increases than the state, won the ability to phase the program in over five years. Still, the Citizes Budget Commission and other analysts have warned that the agreement undermines the pension funds’ long-term stability.

The measure applies to more than one million retirees, and to 500,000 current state and local government employees when they retire. Previously, pensions increased about every four to five years and lagged far behind inflation.