Lalor: Cuomo's Pension Veto a Disservice to Veterans

By Kieran Lalor, on Oct 27, 2015

New York State Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I - East Fishkill) is criticizing Governor Cuomo for vetoing veterans' pension buyback legislation that has passed the Senate and Assembly several times with nearly unanimous support. Lalor has been a vocal proponent of the bill (see his op-eds here and here and previous press releases). 

"This legislation would have benefited the men and women who volunteered to serve our country in the military," Lalor said. "When Governor Cuomo vetoed it last year he claimed the legislature should have included it in the budget and made appropriations for it. But that was disingenuous. The governor did not include the veterans' pension buyback in his own budget proposal this year. The legislature did, however, appropriate funds in this year's version of the bill. Unfortunately, the governor was determined to veto this legislation one way or another."

The bill would have allowed veterans from any era to buy back up to three years of service credit in the public employee retirement systems for their military service. Currently, New York only allows veterans who served during specific conflicts to buy back service credit. For instance, Iraq veterans are currently eligible, while Afghanistan veterans are not. The bill would have fixed that and recognized the service of Afghanistan veterans.

Lalor added, "The bill would have benefited those who served in the post-draft era of the all-volunteer military. They volunteered to serve on ships and in garrisons at home and abroad keeping the Soviet war machine in check, then maintained the peace after we won the Cold War. The bill would have also encouraged the next generation to serve by reminding them that their state values and rewards service in defense of our nation."

Lalor concluded, "It is disgraceful that Cuomo continues to heap billions in corporate welfare and pork on his donors but claims we can't afford to put Afghanistan and Cold War vets on equal footing with their veteran brothers and sisters from other eras and conflicts."

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