Bloomberg Eyes Cops' Pensions

NYPD's retirees weighing heavily on city's budget

Mayor Bloomberg is setting his sites on the pensions enjoyed by New York's finest.

"Right now, we are paying full retirement benefits to people in their 40s," said Mayor Bloomberg, reported the New York Post. "As people are living longer, we simply can't afford to do it forever.

"Our pension system is one of those areas where spending has grown to an unaffordable rate. And we simply have to find a way to rein it in."

It turns out that the men and women in blue represent a quarter of the city's pension obligations, with more than 10,000 ex-cops under the age of 50 collecting full benefits.

According to the New York City Office of the Actuary, a 42-year-old cop can expect to live to be 80. Because so many cops retire in their forties, the city could be on the hook for as much as $2 million in pension payments for one officer.

In fact, the city claims that cops and firemen both have longer life expectancies than your standard municipal desk jockey.

Patrick Lynch, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association president, said he finds this hard to believe.

"It defies logic to suggest that police officers have a longer actuarial life expectancy than the city's civilian employees in far less stressful jobs," he said. "Clearly, it is in the city's interest to show a longer life expectancy for police," Lynch said, calling the city's analysis an "attempt to cheapen pension benefits for future police officers."

With the city swimming in red ink, Bloomberg is considering lightening New York's pension obligations by requiring cops to put in at least 25 years -- as opposed to the current 20-year minimum -- and be at least 50 before hanging up their badges.

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