Governor Cuomo vetoed legislation that would have expanded pension credits for veterans, and announced his disapproval of the bill Friday afternoon so as to escape scrutiny.  The timing of such a veto was clearly worrisome to the Governor.  The optics of squashing a veterans pension bill four days prior to Veteran’s Day wasn’t going to look good.  So Cuomo made the brave decision of issuing a press release on Friday evening after 5 p.m.

Via Politics on the Hudson:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo today vetoed legislation that would have provided additional pension credits to veterans.

The bill, which passed the Legislature earlier this year, would have allowed veterans from any era and during peacetime to to buy back up to three years of service credit in the state retirement system. The buy back program is currently only available to veterans who served in specific conflicts.

Cuomo said the measure would have added costs to the pension system on local governments at a time when the state is trying to limit growing retirement costs. Municipalities opposed the bill, while unions and veterans’ groups supported it.

The veto letter can be read below …

Veto 484

While the merits of who should fund such expanded pension credits can be debated, it should be noted that Cuomo clearly used the bill as a political football at the expense of our veterans.

Republicans repeatedly urged the Governor to pass the bill prior to Election Day. Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin explained how Cuomo toyed with the wishes of the bill’s sponsors in a Facebook post.

What’s not being talked about, but should be, is this; Cuomo actually called for the bill to be sent to him from the legislature a few days before the election. He had to know he was going to veto the bill so I believe he called the bill prior to the election to make it look good to the veterans and supporters of the bill. Then….after the election….he vetoes it. AND….being the gutless weasel that he is, they put out a press release late Friday afternoon so that no one would notice. Or so they thought.
Sponsors of the bill cited concern from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio as the reason Cuomo shot down the bill.  As such, Senator Bill Larkin ripped Cuomo for denying veterans expanded pension options because of de Blasio’s cost concerns, when the mayor and the city council have recently approved an even more costly program to provide municipal IDs to illegal immigrants.

“[De Blasio] said something about $17 or $18 million; I’d like to ask the mayor what it cost to make the ID cards for undocumented aliens,” Larkin said.