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Mayor Michael Bloomberg today took aim at the city’s rising pension and health costs, calling what he dubbed the “labor-electoral complex” the most pressing threat to New York in the final major speech as mayor.
Speaking in a grand ballroom in front of members of the Economic Club of New York, Mr. Bloomberg said that exploding health and pension benefits for municipal workers threatened to undermine the city’s progress and urged his successor, Bill de Blasio, to push through reforms.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is going after the pensions of four ex-pols convicted on corruption-related charges, his office announced this morning.
The United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York has filed paperwork seeking orders to force former City Councilmen Larry Seabrook and Miguel Martinez to forfeit their pension payments to pay off hundreds of thousands of dollars owed on their corruption charges.
Making His Case
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has thus far remained mum on his favored candidate for mayor, but Anthony Weiner is pretty confident he’s got it locked down.
“I think that the mayor, were he a Democrat, would vote for me in the primary and I expect him to vote for me in the general,” declared Mr. Weiner, speaking to reporters at a press conference on parking on the Upper East Side, following a raucous forum at Hunter College.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who before Sunday was virtually unopposed in the comptroller’s race, is ramping up his attacks against his new rival Eliot Spitzer, as unions and Wall Street backers rally to Mr. Stringer’s side.
During an appearance on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show this morning, Mr. Stringer took one subtle dig after the next against Mr. Spitzer, the famously difficult-to-get-along-with former attorney general-turned-“steamroller” governor, who was forced to resign five years ago in the wake of a prostitution scandal.
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.
It’s beginning to look a lot like budget season.
The AFL-CIO went on the air today with a new ad blasting Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Albany lawmakers for their efforts to add a sixth tier to the pension system, and blaming the effort on Wall Street fat cats who, the ad states, propelled Mr. Cuomo into office.
“They crashed our economy. We bailed them out. Now Wall Street, big banks and corporate CEO’s have teamed up with some politicians in Albany to slash pensions of working New Yorkers by 40 percent,” the narrator intones.
The ad conflates a bit two separate problems with the state’s pension system–on the one side, the pension fund is suffering due to the crash of the economy, but it is not quite accurate to say that because of that Mr. Cuomo and others who are pushing for reform are only doing so because of the crash. In fact, they often point out that the health of the pension fund isn’t so much a short-term as it is a long-term problem.
City Comptroller John Liu — who worked out with New York City firemen Saturday
yesterday and donned a helmet at their conference today – got a standing ovation when he vowed to protect union pension benefits.
Liu, who is likely to run for mayor in 2013, told the audience gathered at the Hilton this morning, “There are some people in New York City and across the country who have talked about how we can’t uphold the deal we made with our workers.”