Bill S4476-2011

Establishes a government employee benefit fee for state employees

Establishes a government employee benefit fee for state employees; establishes a state government employee benefit fund.

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  • Jan 4, 2012: REFERRED TO FINANCE
  • Apr 6, 2011: REFERRED TO FINANCE

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S4476

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the state finance law and the civil service law, in relation to government employee benefit payments

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: This bill requires the state of New York (by means of implementation of the president of the civil service commission), to establish and collect a non wage benefit contribution fee, from all their government employees, equal to 5% of an employee's salary. The proceeds of such fee would be deposited into a state fund, under the joint custody of the comptroller and the president of civil service. Disbursements from the fund would be paid at the direction of the governing body of the municipal corporation, or the president of civil service for the state, for any non wage benefit cost incurred by such government.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section 1 - Legislative findings and declarations.

Section 2 - Adds §92-o to the State Finance Law creating the Government employee benefit fund and the special accounts of New York State and all local government entities that choose to opt-in to the use of the fund by implementing the Government Employment benefit fee. Directs the powers of the State Comptroller and President of Civil Service over the fund.

Section 3 - Adds Article 13-A to the Civil Service Law §190 creating the Government employment benefit fee for employees of the State of New York. Non-wage benefits are defined to include health care, insurance, pension, parking, day care, educational and other benefits up to 5% of the employee's gross wages per pay period. Provides that the fees collected shall be deposited into the government employee benefit fund, presided over by the State Comptroller. Directs the powers of the State Comptroller and President of Civil Service over the fund.

Section 4- Sets the enacting date.

JUSTIFICATION: Real Property Taxes in New York State are too high, and the burden they place upon citizens, homeowners and businesses, is making it difficult for New York State to thrive, prosper and succeed. The only way to realistically reduce the real property tax burden upon our citizens, homeowners and businesses, is to place a comprehensive approach in State law which controls costs and spending for local governments, and provides significant mandate relief with respect to their fiscal obligations. Real property tax relief and local government mandate reform must be achieved by establishing a comprehensive approach to reduce real property taxes across the state, the controlling government costs, and providing significant mandate relief to local governments.

Health insurance costs have been one of the fastest growing components of municipal budgets. For example, between 2002 and 2008, health insurance expenses for cities and villages grew by 40% and 61%, respectively. Additionally, in many municipalities, the cost of retiree health insurance exceeds the cost of health insurance for active employees. In fact, a recent report of the Empire Center for New York State Policy estimates that the total unfunded retiree health care liability for New York's local governments and school districts (including New York City) is $130.4 billion.

Municipalities are currently facing increases ranging from 25% to 40% in pension contributions for 2011 and 2012, and the predictions for 2013 and beyond are just as ominous. According to a survey conducted by the New York State Conference of Mayors (NYCOM), total pension costs for cities are projected to rise from $203 million in 2010 to $457 in 2015. A recent report by the Empire Center for New York State Policy estimates that state and local employer contributions will more than double over the next five years, adding nearly $4 billion to annual taxpayer costs.

Public employers can no longer foot the bill for generous pension and health insurance benefits. This legislation would provide a mechanism to protect taxpayers by ensuring that all public employees contribute toward the cost of their non-wage benefits, thereby giving municipal employers the ability to fund essential public services.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: This is a new bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to the State.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4476 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE April 6, 2011 ___________
Introduced by Sen. MARTINS -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Finance AN ACT to amend the state finance law and the civil service law, in relation to government employee benefit payments THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Legislative findings and declarations. The legislature hereby finds and determines that real property taxes in New York state are too high, and that the burden that they place upon our citizens, homeowners and businesses, is making it difficult for New York state to thrive, prosper and succeed. The legislature further finds and determines that the only way to realistically reduce the real property tax burden upon our citizens, homeowners and businesses, is to place a comprehensive approach in state law which controls costs and spending for local governments, and provides significant mandate relief with respect to their fiscal obli- gations. The legislature additionally finds and determines that a comprehensive approach of capping property taxes, controlling governmental employee benefit costs, and providing significant mandate relief to local govern- ments will promote the controlling of the cost and spending for local governments, as well as helping to provide significant mandate relief with respect to their future fiscal obligations. The legislature finally finds and determines that this act seeks to be a part of a comprehensive approach to reduce real property taxes across the state by controlling of governmental employee benefit costs and the provision of significant mandate relief to local governments. S 2. The state finance law is amended by adding a new section 92-o to read as follows: S 92-O. STATE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE BENEFIT FUND. 1. THERE IS HEREBY CREATED IN THE JOINT CUSTODY OF THE STATE COMPTROLLER AND THE PRESIDENT
OF THE STATE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, A STATE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE BENE- FIT FUND. 2. SUCH FUND SHALL CONSIST OF THE REVENUES DERIVED FROM THE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE BENEFIT FEE COLLECTED BY THE STATE OF NEW YORK PURSUANT TO ARTICLE THIRTEEN-A OF THE CIVIL SERVICE LAW, TOGETHER WITH SUCH ADDI- TIONAL VOLUNTARY PAYMENTS MADE TO THE FUND PURSUANT TO ARTICLE THIR- TEEN-A OF THE CIVIL SERVICE LAW. 3. FOLLOWING THE APPROPRIATION OF THE LEGISLATURE, MONIES FROM THE FUND SHALL BE USED, UPON CERTIFICATION BY THE STATE COMPTROLLER, FOR THE PAYMENT OF ANY PUBLIC EMPLOYEE BENEFIT EXPENSE INCURRED BY THE STATE. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, AN EMPLOYEE BENEFIT EXPENSE SHALL INCLUDE ANY EXPENSE DERIVED FROM THE PROVISION OF ANY NON-WAGE BENEFIT, INCLUDING HEALTH CARE BENEFITS, INSURANCE BENEFITS, PENSION BENEFITS, PARKING BENEFITS, DAY CARE BENEFITS, EDUCATIONAL BENEFITS OR ANY OTHER BENEFIT PROVIDED TO A PUBLIC EMPLOYEE AS RECOGNIZED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE STATE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION PURSUANT TO REGULATION. PAYMENT OF THE MONIES OF THE FUND SHALL BE MADE BY THE STATE COMPTROLLER, DIRECTLY TO THE STATE, PURSUANT TO DIRECTION OF THE APPROPRIATION MADE BY THE LEGISLATURE. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE STATE COMPTROLLER MAKE ANY PAYMENT FROM THE FUND, IF THE MONIES CONTAINED IN SUCH FUND, DO NOT EXCEED THE AMOUNT OF THE PAYMENT OR PAYMENTS TO BE MADE TO THE PROVIDER OR PROVID- ERS OF THE EMPLOYEE BENEFITS. S 3. The civil service law is amended by adding a new article 13-A to read as follows: ARTICLE 13-A GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PAYMENTS SECTION 190. GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE BENEFIT FEE. S 190. GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE BENEFIT FEE. 1. THE STATE OF NEW YORK SHALL HEREBY ESTABLISH A GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE BENEFIT FEE. SUCH FEE IS TO BE DEDUCTED FROM EACH EMPLOYEE OF THE STATE GOVERNMENT WHO RECEIVES ANY NON-WAGE BENEFIT FROM THEIR EMPLOYMENT. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, THE TERM "NON-WAGE BENEFIT" SHALL INCLUDE HEALTH CARE BENEFITS, INSUR- ANCE BENEFITS, PENSION BENEFITS, PARKING BENEFITS, DAY CARE BENEFITS, EDUCATIONAL BENEFITS OR ANY OTHER BENEFIT PROVIDED TO SUCH PUBLIC EMPLOYEE AS RECOGNIZED BY THE PRESIDENT PURSUANT TO REGULATION. SUCH FEE, WHICH SHALL BE IN ADDITION TO ANY OTHER DEDUCTIONS OR FEES CURRENT- LY ALLOWED BY LAW, SHALL BE DETERMINED PURSUANT TO REGULATION ESTAB- LISHED BY THE PRESIDENT. SUCH FEE SHALL NOT BE IN EXCESS OF FIVE PERCENT OF THE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE'S GROSS WAGES, AND SHALL BE DEDUCTED IN EQUAL AMOUNTS PER PAY PERIOD. 2. UPON THE ISSUANCE OF THE REGULATION OF THE PRESIDENT DETERMINING THE AMOUNT OF THE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE BENEFIT FEE, THE PRESIDENT SHALL NOTIFY THE STATE COMPTROLLER, IN WRITING, OF THE ESTABLISHMENT OF SUCH FEE. UPON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF SUCH FEE, COMMENCING ON THE FIRST OF JANUARY AFTER THE ESTABLISHMENT OF SUCH FEE, AND THEN EVERY NINETY DAYS THEREAFTER, THE STATE COMPTROLLER SHALL PROVIDE FOR THE QUARTERLY TRANS- FER OF ALL MONIES COLLECTED FROM SUCH FEE, TO THE STATE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE BENEFIT FUND FOR DEPOSIT IN THE SPECIAL STATE ACCOUNT FOR DEPOSIT WITHIN SUCH FUND. THE STATE, UPON APPROPRIATION BY THE LEGISLA- TURE, MAY ALSO TRANSFER ADDITIONAL MONIES, IN EXCESS OF THE MONIES COLLECTED FROM THE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE BENEFIT FEE, TO THE STATE COMP- TROLLER, FOR DEPOSIT IN THE STATE'S SPECIAL ACCOUNT WITHIN THE STATE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE BENEFIT FUND. 3. THE PRESIDENT MAY, IN WRITING, DIRECT THE STATE COMPTROLLER TO PAY SPECIFIED EMPLOYEE BENEFIT COSTS INCURRED BY THE STATE, FROM THE STATE'S SPECIAL ACCOUNT WITHIN THE STATE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE BENEFIT FUND, TO
THE PROVIDER OR PROVIDERS OF SUCH NON-WAGE BENEFITS. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE STATE COMPTROLLER MAKE ANY PAYMENT FROM THE SPECIAL ACCOUNT, IF THE MONIES CONTAINED WITHIN SUCH SPECIAL ACCOUNT, DO NOT EXCEED THE AMOUNT OF THE PAYMENT OR PAYMENTS TO BE MADE BY THE STATE COMPTROLLER TO THE PROVIDER OR PROVIDERS OF THE EMPLOYEE BENEFITS. 4. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW TO THE CONTRARY, ANY GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE BENEFIT FEE ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION, AND ANY COLLECTION OF SUCH FEE BY THE STATE, SHALL NOT BE DEEMED TO CONSTITUTE, BE SUBJECT TO, OR BE IN VIOLATION OF, ANY TERM OR CONDITION OF EMPLOYMENT, WITH RESPECT TO ARTICLE FOURTEEN OF THIS CHAPTER. S 4. This act shall take effect immediately.

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