Against the backdrop of the contentious turf war over Governor Andrew Cuomo’s pension reform plan, a trio of Democratic Assemblyman and several labor leaders are calling for passage of the Institutional Investor Recovery Act. This legislation would allow the Attorney General to seek damages and recoveries when public pension funds suffer losses due to securities fraud. Currently, the Martin Act gives the Attorney General broad powers to prosecute securities fraud, but it does not allow the State to recover losses on behalf of public pension funds. Pursuing losses from financial firms is a favored topic of opponents of the governor’s pension reform push who argue the focus should be on penalizing Wall Street firms that lost money from the pension fund rather than cutting benefits.
“All the focus on the issue of pensions has been on the benefit side of the equation. We need to look at what happened on the investment side. It simply doesn’t make sense that the pension funds have no practical way to recover investment losses caused by fraud,” said Assemblyman Peter Abbate the lead sponsor of the bill to update the Martin Act.
Legislators are returning to work at the Capitol in Albany after four days out of session and, on their way back, they’ll be greeted by a “giant inflatable Wall Street pig” named “1%.” AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, announced their intention to stage the porcine protest against Governor Andrew Cuomo’s pension reform proposal in a statement sent out yesterday.
“’1%,’ a giant cigar-chomping Wall Street pig will be making his debut and welcoming politicians back to Albany. The pig, “1%,” is named after the greedy Wall Street special interests and large corporations in the one percent that willingly distort the facts, and outright lie in order to promote Tier 6— Governor Cuomo’s 40% pension-cutting scheme,” the statement said.
Opposing Governor Andrew Cuomo’s pension plan is about to come to Zuccotti Park.
One of New York’s public employee unions, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, is holding a “Tier It Down!” rally tomorrow afternoon against Governor Cuomo’s “Tier 6″ proposal, where new employees would receive scaled down pension benefits in an effort to curb costs.
“Say it loud! Say it clear! Scott Walker is not welcome here!” chanted a gaggle of union members and supporters gathered on a hot strip of strip of sidewalk in Grand Army Plaza Park on the Upper East Side this afternoon.
Walker, the first-year governor of Wisconsin, became a national villain of the labor movement in February, when–after a protracted stand-off that saw the state Capitol taken siege by activists–his bill to balance the state budget succeeded in stripping government workers of most of their collective bargaining rights.