The kerfuffle between Mayor Miner and Governor Cuomo is in some ways the inevitable result of years of policies neither was directly a party to.
Cities....as in shining cities on a hill....are finding it tougher to live up to expectations and all the mandates, policies and labor laws piled on over the years are the chickens coming home to roost. Despite years of calling for mandate relief, Albany is paralyzed by special interests and local governments are not that high on the list.
When Mayor Miner talks of "gimmicks", she is right in saying there is no free lunch and pension smoothing is just borrowing against the future in return for lower expenses now. Lower expenses that defer or eliminate the need to decide whether a city has three pools or two, two hundred cops instead of three hundred, or fire staffing some argue harkens to the days of alarm pull boxes on the corner.
However, the word "gimmick" implies dishonesty or deception. What the Governor is proposing is neither. It is what it is. Sort of like when I bought my first car (a '74 Pinto) and the maximum term available was 36 months...Now it's 72 or 84 months to keep the payments in line. It's borrowing against the future, but it's not a gimmick....It may or may not be good practice, but its clear what you are doing.
I have been to NY Conference of Mayor's meetings for some time and the same things are discussed every year. Wick's Law, binding arbitration, AIM aid, CHIPS money. Now pensions eclipse everything.
The Governor seems to be saying, solve the problems yourself...make real cuts..and there is a natural resistance to that as nobody ever got a Shapiro Award for closing a fire station or a playground or taking away a tax exemption for seniors.
The Administration accuses Mayor Miner of just angling for more state money and not making the tough decisions. Her honor thinks otherwise.
What do you think ?
Cities near a tipping point - Times Union