Gov. David Paterson shocked lawmakers when he vetoed a bill that had allowed city cops and firefighters to retire with generous pensions for almost 30 years.
"These are not routine times," said Paterson, according to the New York Post . "Nothing says 'business as usual' like a 'temporary' fix that lasts 28 years."
Paterson was referring to the "temporary" measure that since 1981 had regularly been renewed by legislators, giving the NYPD and FDNY lucrative pensions known as "Tier II" even as new, less-generous tiers were created for non-uniformed workers.
"Instead of a rubber stamp on a temporary fix, we need to move forward with real reform to the pension system," Paterson told The Post.
As you may have guessed, Mayor Bloomberg was tickled pink with the governor's cost-cutting measure.
"Governor Paterson made a gutsy decision last night to veto a pension-continuation bill," Bloomberg said in a statement cited by The Post. "The city and state have been buried by exponential growth in pension costs and we need reform now, before those costs bankrupt the city and the state."
The bill was easily passed by a 136-6 vote in the Assembly and 58-0 in the Senate. It will take a two-thirds majority of each house to override the governor's veto.
Paterson's aggressive action caught the labor unions and their backers in the Legislature off guard.
Paterson reintroduced a cost-saving pension proposal recently after it had been cast aside by lawmakers during budget negotiations earlier this year. The governor claims his plan for a new pension tier will save New York $48 billion over the next 30 years, a claim the unions and lawmakers have rejected.
"There was no cost to extending the current system. We don't know what the cost would be. We don't know what the savings will be," Savino told The Post.