NY Veteran Pension Bill at Governor for Third Time

This is the third time that a New York bill that would offer all veterans an extra three years of pension has reached Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office. The bill aims to include all veterans, regardless of when or where they served. Every time the bill has reached the Cuomo in the past, he has vetoed it, reportedly due to funding concerns.

Press Connects has more on the issue:

Now, with the bill on Cuomo’s desk a third time, representatives of various veterans groups traveled to the state Capitol on Tuesday, hoping to convince the governor to change his mind.

“We’ve got to get the governor to sign the bill,” said Bob Becker, legislative coordinator for the New York State Veterans Council. “I’m not a state employee, never was. I’m here supporting our veterans that are in the state of New York for this bill. The veteran community supports all veterans, male or female, who serve our country.”

The legislation — sponsored by Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, D-Scarsdale, Westchester County, and Sen. William Larkin, R-New Windsor, Orange County — would expand the state’s veterans pension buyback program, which currently allows certain veterans who are now state, local government or school employees and served in combat or during certain wars to claim an extra three years of service when they file for their retirement.

Both the Senate and Assembly passed it earlier this year.

If signed by Cuomo, any veteran — regardless of whether they are combat veterans or when they served — would be eligible for the credit.

Supporters of the bill say the state’s current eligibility rules lead to arbitrary results. Afghanistan veterans, for example, are excluded, as are women who served in certain conflicts prior to being able to hold combat roles.

In vetoing the bill each of the past two years, Cuomo has pointed to the financial implications. Like in previous years, the bill doesn’t include a funding source, meaning the state would still have to figure out how to pay for the added pension costs.

Cuomo must sign or veto the legislation by June 1.

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