Monday, January 3, 2011

Drastic Times Call For Drastic Measures

As Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to detail his secret economic plan (akin to fictional President Bartlett's secret plan to fight inflation?) at the State of the State, one NYS Senator has rekindled a proposal from May 2010 that would help limit the state's debt.
Republican John Flanagan, and nemesis to Democrat Suzie Oppenheimer, has reintroduced a bill for 2011 session that would (presumably) enact a statewide salary freeze for all public-sector employees. The language of the new bill has not been released, but this was laid out in the bill he brought last year.
Assuming the proposals are the same, Flanagan is proposing the suspension of all scheduled increases in salary or wages of employees of the state, municipalities and school districts for a period of one year.
I don't really understand this part, but it also "provides that no retroactive pay adjustment of any kind shall accrue or be deemed to accrue during the period of wage freeze and no such accruals shall be paid at the time the wage freeze is terminated."
The previous bill's memorandum mounts this defense:
Precedent for this bill occurred in 2003 whereby the Buffalo Fiscal
Stability Authority Act (BFSA) was adopted and empowered the City of
Buffalo to impose, among other measures, a wage freeze. Prior to that,
in 1975, the New York State Financial Emergency Act was enacted and
authorized New York City's wage freeze. Both wage freezes were chal-
lenged on constitutional grounds and were upheld by federal and state

Flanagan's bill acknowledged that the measure wouldn't solve the state's problems completely. In his justification he said it would help alleviate the current deficit and set the right tone for the future.
The fiscal benefits he predicted are:
Enacting a wage freeze at this juncture would realize substantial
savings: NYS, $400 million; Suffolk County, $65 million; Nassau County,
$30 million; The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, $100 million;
New York City $1 billion.

His proposal in May of 2010 received very little traction, to the point where it was never addressed in committee and had no companion in the Assembly. Maybe 2011 and the GOP controlled senate will yield different results

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