2012-03-21 / Civics and Politics

Ball Assails Katz on Pension Vote

Katz says real fix is needed, not one years away
Douglas Cunningham

Mere days after formally announcing their campaigns for the State Senate’s 40th District, incumbent Sen. Greg Ball and challenger Assembly Steve Katz, are tearing one another up over the pension bill passed in the waning hours of the Legislative session.

The bill creates a new Tier 6, in which the retirement age would be increased from 62 to 63, employee contributions for higher-paid workers would increase and the final average salary calculation would be stretched from three years to five years, to reduce pension padding.

Katz and Ball are both Republicans. Katz voted against it; Ball voted for the measure. Both have campaigned against what they call excessive and overbearing mandates from Albany.

“Real mandate reform would take political courage, which is woefully lacking in Albany,” Katz said. “… Our counties need relief NOW, not 30 years from now. I will only vote for bills that will provide our counties with true mandate relief. Smoke and Mirror bills such as this are nothing more than self-congratulatory headline grabbers, which do nothing more than provide cover for hypocritical, self-serving, reelection-driven career politicians. My vote was a vote of conscience and concern for the future of our state and our children.”

Katz spokesman Ed Kowalski elaborated that all Tier 6 employees – new state workers – should be covered by 401(k)-style plans, not pensions, to deal with New York’s grave fiscal issues.

But Ball calls Katz’s vote a classic flip-flop, in which Katz talks conservative in the district, but then votes liberal in Albany.

The Ball campaign team brought out a Yellow Chicken costume Sunday, at a Katz campaign event, saying he “plays chicken with the taxpayers.”

Jim Coleman, Ball’s campaign manager, said the measure would save $80 billion over three decades. The Ball team calls Katz, a veterinarian, “Dr. Do Liberal.”

“Just the other day, Dr. Do Liberal spoke on behalf of mandate relief and pension reform,” Coleman said. “Now in Albany, he recklessly voted against $80 Billion in savings and against a historic and hard fought pension reform plan. Dr Do-Liberal is either confused or disingenuous, maybe both. In a short time, he has expertly perfected the liberal, tax and spend, Albany two-step, saying one thing in district and then saying the opposite with his votes on spending cuts and reform.”


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