Between 2002 and 2012, contributions by New York’s state and local governments to public employee retirement plans rose more than 500 percent, squeezing budgets for municipalities across the state. This surge was driven primarily by investment losses as well as the plan’s practice of adjusting government contributions to offset unexpected investment gains and losses. The plan benefit structure was not the culprit. Although current retirees from New York’s state and local governments receive more generous pensions than government employees in most states, recent cutbacks have significantly reduced pensions for new hires. Further benefit cuts do not seem warranted.
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