Monday, April 25, 2011

No NYC OTB? No Problem

No private employee gets a do-over on history if their company fails and their retirement plans disappear, but that is what the NYS Legislature is considering for employees of the defunct NYC OTB.
Introduced by Democratic Assemblyman Peter Abbate and the Rules Committee, which means the Republicans, in the Senate, this proposal would require the state to maintain the health insurance and supplemental benefits promised by retirees of the New York City Off-Track Betting Corporation.
The memorandum for this proposal argues that the state made certain promises to employees of the NYC OTB, which the state is now obligated to ensure.
It was indeed part of the quid pro quo for their employment. Upon closure, the promise was broken, resulting in severe financial hardship and even more, important, danger to the health and lives of NYCOTB retirees and their dependants.

The state of New York should honor its commitment to protect the welfare of these former public employees and restore the health insurance and supplemental benefits of current and future NYCOTB retirees. Any annual cost associated with the bill will diminish with the passage of time and must be balanced against additional cost the state would occur should these individuals need to secure other public benefits.

Interestingly, while the memo recognizes there will be costs, it concludes that the fiscal implications are not available.
This bill seems natural for the Assembly, where it has sat for a month, but its introduction three weeks ago in the Senate is a bit of surprise. Maybe it is remorse or guilt on the part of Senate Republicans who wouldn't keep the NYC OTB?

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