ALTERNATE-SIDE RETIRING?: It looked like a push for an early-retirement-incentive bill had petered out last fall when Mayor de Blasio persuaded city unions to make wage and benefit deferrals in return for a no-layoff guarantee. But despite layoffs having become even more unlikely once the American Rescue Plan provided enough aid to both the state and city to cover their fiscal deficits, last-minute state budget talks have reportedly revived chances of a retirement-incentive bill advancing for city workers.

As Albany budget deliberations extended past the April 1 deadline, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli warned that if the Governor and the legislature didn't adopt a budget soon, roughly 39,000 state workers would see their paychecks delayed.

He said in a statement, "Many work in health care and correctional facilities. Many are essential workers who must show up at work every day and put in long, hard hours. For the workers that get paper checks or have payments set up on direct withdrawal, I urge them to be mindful of the impact of a late state budget on their personal finances."

Could Spread to Colleges

There are about 100,000 people on the institutional-payroll cycle, with the other 61,000 employed by the City University of New York and State University of New York. While they are unaffected because their fiscal year starts July 1, the second state payroll April 14 covers 146,000 state employees at administrative and executive agencies. 

As of April 2, a deal before Easter was unlikely because so much remained to be finalized on the estimated $200-billion state budget.

That included a possible early-retirement incentive for senior city workers, $7 billion in tax hikes on wealthy New Yorkers, and a $2.1-billion fund for undocumented workers and former inmates who are ineligible for federal pandemic aid programs.

Limiting early retirement to just city workers has produced pushback from upstate legislators whose constituents would also leave government if they were given additional pension credit.

In 2002, as the Bloomberg administration struggled to restore financial stability after 9/11's impact, 4,000 city workers accepted an early-retirement incentive.

Need Diminished

With President Biden's $1.9-trillion American Rescue Plan including $350 billion in state and city aid, the threat of mass layoffs faded, lessening the urgency to reduce public-employee payrolls.

The Democratic conference debate on what is called the Excluded Workers Fund cuts along geographical lines, with the city's progressive legislators pushing hardest for it.

Queens State Sen. Jessica Ramos told Politico that the GOP's response was muted because they "realize the economic impact of this particular segment of New Yorkers not having disposable income...we're talking farm workers, we're talking poultry workers, we're talking domestic workers."

"The economic effects of the pandemic on the state's finances are widespread," Mr. DiNapoli said. "Many New Yorkers are hurting, and it is important that a final agreement is reached quickly."


(2) comments


Lets do this

Mike The Carpenter

As NYC has declined into an unsafe, violent, filthy snake pit, any incentive to leave would be appreciated.

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