New York State lawmakers passed a major pension reform deal following an arduous session that lasted through Wednesday night, according to the NYPost. The pension deal had already been approved by the State Senate and needed only to be passed by the Assembly before the new legislation was authorized.
Governor Cuomo projects that the new pension plan will save both state and local governments $80 billion over the next 30 years. This bold and transformational pension reform plan is a historic win for New York taxpayers and municipalities, said Gov. Cuomo. Without the critical reform, New Yorkers would have seen significant tax increases, as well as layoffs to teachers, firefighters and police.
Highlights of the bill include the creations of a sixth tier, the legalization of casinos and expansion of the state's DNA databank. Furthermore, the pension plan will raise the retirement age from 62 to 63 and change the redistricting process following the next U.S. Census.
The deal included the 401K retirement plan as an option for future non-union laborers with salaries of $75,000 or more.
The NYPost Summarized other pieces of legislation passed along the pension deal:
- A bill making the state teacher evaluation system announced last month official in law
- A proposed constitutional amendment authorizing up to seven non-Indian casinos at locations to be determined by the Legislature, likely in 2013. Lawmakers would have to pass the amendment again next year before it goes to voters in November 2013. Cuomo and Silver oppose casinos in Manhattan.
- A crime-fighting DNA bill that requires samples from criminals convicted of felonies and the most serious misdemeanors. It would not apply to first-time pot-possession offenders. Cuomo and Senate Republicans agreed to Assembly Democrats' demands to grant defense lawyers more access to DNA samples.
- A Senate- and Assembly-drawn legislative redistricting plan and reforms to make the process more independent in future reapportionments, starting in 2022. The plan limits lawmakers' ability to change independently-drawn future redistricting plans to 2 percent.