Cuomo Vetoes Bill for Veterans’ Pension Credits

ALBANY (AP) -

Heading into Veterans Day, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday vetoed legislation that would have authorized state and municipal pension credits for peacetime military service.

The legislation authored by Sen. William Larkin, a Hudson Valley Republican and combat veteran of World War II, would amend current law that provides up to three years’ credit toward public employee pensions for military service during hostilities. Veterans would have to pay 3 percent of their compensation during those military years to the retirement system.

In his veto message, Cuomo said it’s an unfunded mandate on local governments that would incur $57 million in near-term obligations while ignoring recently enacted pension reforms. The measure would apply to every past member of the armed forces who is a member of any public employees’ retirement system.

The Assembly passed the bill 133–1 on the last day of the legislative session in June. Sponsors said that with the U.S. dependent on a volunteer military, the state needs to recognize all veterans by giving them pension access.