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Pension reform draws mixed reviews

— These so-called pension reforms will not impact teachers and law enforcement currently on the job, Sherman pointed out, but they will affect the children of Plattsburgh and New York state who might decide to devote their lives to public service one day.

“It is hurting the same children the state is not coming up with the funds needed to give them what they need today,” he said. “They have attacked our children on two fronts.”

Other union leaders said the reforms were about politicians once again climbing into bed with the wealthy 1 percent at the expense of teachers, secretaries, laborers, bus drivers and nurses.

“Speaking today for the 54,000 members of the New York State Public Employees Federation, we are appalled that state legislators finally broke and gave in to the governor’s relentless demand for a new pension tier that will do nothing to help the state or local governments deal with their current budget demands,” federation President Ken Brynien said in a statement.

Kasprzak sees it differently, saying Plattsburgh’s retirement costs in 2000 were roughly $18,000 and in 2012 estimated to be $2.8 million. Such numbers are unaffordable, he said, and the passage of “historic” pension reform addresses the “unsustainable retirement costs affecting every local government in New York state.”

The reforms address long-term pension costs, raise the retirement age, increase employee contributions fairly and consistently, and take steps to eliminate pension abuse padding and payment of unused sick and vacation time, Kasprzak said.

“I applaud the efforts of Governor Cuomo in addressing pension reform.”

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