Comptroller: Pension Bill Doubled in Decade

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The state comptroller reports New York spent $7 billion on pensions for state and local government workers in 2008, more than double the $3.4 billion spent in 1998.

New York's public workers have to contribute to their retirement plan for their first 10 years on the job, can retire at 55 with guaranteed benefits, and pay no state income taxes on their pensions.

Gov. David Paterson has proposed creating a new retirement tier, which would raise the retirement age to 62, exclude overtime pay in pension calculations, except for firefighters and police, who use it most often, and require workers to remain on the job 10 years, rather than five, to be eligible for pension pay.

If adopted by the Legislature it would affect only new hires.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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