In Yonkers, N.Y., more than 100 retired police officers and firefighters are raking in pensions greater than their pay when they were working.
One guy, Hugo Tassone, retired at the ripe old age of 44 with a base pay of $74,000 a year and collects yearly pension payments of $101,333 a year and says taxpayers owe it to him.
“I don’t understand how the working guy that held up their end of the bargain became the problem,” Tassone says, according to The New York Times.
The cost of public pensions has been underestimated nationwide for more than two decades, according to some analysts, who estimate that state and local officials have promised $5 trillion worth of benefits while committing taxpayers to roughly half that amount.
Yonkers passed a pension formula for police in 2000 stressing the maximum cost would be $1.3 million a year.
Today, however, the yearly cost is now $3.75 million and rising.
David Simpson, a spokesman for the mayor of Yonkers, says pension cost projections were “often low balls,” and adds those payments aren't going down.
“Once you give something, you can’t take it away.”
In fact, the entire state of New York is one of many facing budget deficits, however, and some state politicians want to sell up to $2 billion in bonds to help cover spending gaps, a move opposed by Governor David Paterson as well as New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, according to Bloomberg.
Nevertheless, Paterson has plans of his own to balance the state's deficit — a fresh tax on sodas.
According to Reuters, Paterson plans to scrap taxes on diet sodas while adding a “sugar tax” on full-calorie drinks to pump $815 million in revenue into cash-strapped New York.
“The new proposal will discourage consumption of high-calorie beverages while simultaneously making lower-calorie beverages more affordable, which will help lead to major gains in public health,” says New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
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