ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Taxpayers are set to foot the estimated $50,000 bill every year for outgoing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s pension. Unless he’s convicted of a felony or a bill passes to amend the state constitution and retroactively claw back the payments, they’ll last for the rest of the resigning leader’s life.
Tim Hoefer, the president and CEO of the Empire Center, explained how he used his think tank’s calculator to reach that figure.
“What you need to know as a user is the age of retirement, the number of years worked that count towards the pension, the final average salary—which is the average of the three highest years—and then, roughly, when the person was hired,” Hoefer told NEWS10.
NEWS10 reached out to the State Comptroller’s office to see if they would calculate Cuomo’s pension:
The New York State and Local Retirement System does not provide estimates as to what the pension would be for someone (too many variables, they can select several different options if they want to leave a benefit for family members.
Andrew Cuomo is a Tier 4 member of the New York State and Local Employees’ Retirement System. As of June 30, 2021 he has 14.48 years of service credit (unaudited).
We do have an online calculator but please note, the numbers are not final and they are only used an estimate.Office of the State Comptroller
Neither resignation nor impeachment constitutes grounds to strip a governor’s pension. Hoefer explained that felony charges have to be filed, followed by a conviction. They would be just step one of a lengthy process.
“Step number two is that, then, whoever brings that initial case—whether it’s the Attorney General or a district attorney—needs to bring a separate legal proceeding to go after the pension under the Public Integrity Reform Act,” Hoefer said.
The process doesn’t stop there. The State Comptroller then has to verify eligibility and estimated benefits. “Then the court has the authority—though they’re not required—to reduce or revoke the pension if that’s their finding,” Hoefer added.
The proposed bill by Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara and Sen. James Skoufis would amend New York’s constitution and remove pensions from impeached officials. To be enacted, that bill must pass both houses in two consecutive legislative sessions, then earn the support of voters on a subsequent ballot.
This would be a multi-year process, but it would also be retroactive. That means it would affect Cuomo’s pension if he’s successfully impeached.