Although there is still no resolution on the State Budget, which is now more than two months late,state operations continue through the passage of emergency budget extender bills. This practice has many implications for local governments, as it hinders municipal officials’ ability to budget and plan because not only is the receipt of aid payments frequently delayed, the total amount of state aid remains uncertain until a state budget is finally adopted. This is particularly problematic for the state’s largest cities who must finalize their own municipal budgets before the end of June without knowing what level of funding they will receive from the state.
In the meantime, however, the State Legislature continues to consider other legislative iniatives including the recently enacted early retirement incentive bill. This law applies to state and local employees under the New York State and Local Employee Retirement System, the New York City Retirement Systems and the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System. Employees in the New York State and Local Police and Fire Retirement System are not eligible. The two incentives contained in the bill -- an additional service credit incentive under Part A and a 55/25 retirement option under Part B -- are optional for local government and school district employers. The hope is that these retirement incentives will help achieve cost savings and avoid public employee layoffs until the state’s fiscal picture improves.