Directs the state to reimburse the city of New York for the health care benefits of the retirees of the New York city off-track betting corporation; appropriates $7,000,000 therefor.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the racing, pari-mutuel wagering and breeding law, in relation to provision of health insurance and supplemental benefits to retirees of the New York city off-track betting corporation; and making an appropriation therefor
PURPOSE: This bill would require the state of New York to maintain the health insurance and supplemental benefits received by retirees of the New York City Off-Track Betting Corporation.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section one of the bill sets forth a legislative intent.
Section two of the bill amends section 606(4)of the Racing, Pari-mutuel wagering and Breeding Law to require the state of New York to reimburse the city of New York or its designee and applicable welfare fund benefit programs for the actual cost of health insurance and welfare benefit programs.
Section four of the bill would make the act effective immediately.
JUSTIFICATION: Prior to the closure of the New York City Off Track Betting Corporation on December 7, 2010, retirees of the corporation received health insurance through the New York City employees health insurance plan pursuant to Chapter 115 of the Laws of 2008. Some employees received supplemental benefits (such as prescription drug, optical and dental) through welfare fund benefit plans funded through employer contributions.
Employees entered NYCOTB service with the assurance that, if they retired from NYCOTB, they and their dependants would receive these benefits. It was indeed part of the quid pro quo for their employment. Upon closure, the promise was broken, resulting in severe financial hardship and even more, important, danger to the health and lives of NYCOTB retirees and their dependants.
The state of New York should honor its commitment to protect the welfare of these former public employees and restore the health insurance and supplemental benefits of current and future NYCOTB retirees. Any annual cost associated with the bill will diminish with the passage of time and must be balanced against additional cost the state would occur should these individuals need to secure other public benefits. This bill addresses the Governor's veto message by attaching an appropriation to the legislation.
2011 Veto # 62.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: $7 million.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6868 IN SENATE March 30, 2012 ___________Introduced by Sens. LANZA, GOLDEN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Finance AN ACT to amend the racing, pari-mutuel wagering and breeding law, in relation to provision of health insurance and supplemental benefits to retirees of the New York city off-track betting corporation; and making an appropriation therefor THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Legislative intent. The state of New York has an interest in the welfare of its citizens, and the general welfare of its senior citizens is a matter of great public concern to the state. On December 7, 2010, the New York city off-track betting corporation, a public bene- fit corporation created in 1973 pursuant to article VI of the racing, pari-mutual wagering and breeding law ceased operations. The legislature finds that, since its inception, off-track betting in the city of New York provided the state with significant revenues to support government operations. The legislature further finds that after the governor issued an executive order to allow the New York city off-track betting corpo- ration to file for bankruptcy pursuant to Chapter 9 of the United States Bankruptcy Code, the unions representing the employees of such off-track betting corporation worked tirelessly to assist the corporation in its restructuring efforts, including two collective bargaining agreements wherein the employees made significant concessions, including voluntary separation from the corporation, in order to save the corporation and assist their fellow employees. The legislature further finds that employees retired from such corpo- ration, after having received the assurance that they and their depen- dants would receive health insurance and supplemental benefit coverage under their collective bargaining representative's welfare benefit program. After the closure of the New York city off-track betting corpo- ration, those benefits ceased. The legislature further finds that cessation of these benefits to public employees who have devoted their working lives to service of a state public benefit corporation works a great injustice and a severeEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD15234-02-2 S. 6868 2
hardship to the retirees and their dependants, thereby putting their health and very lives in danger. The legislature further finds that by honoring the commitment to provide health insurance and supplemental benefits to retirees of the New York city off-track betting corporation, the state reaffirms its commitment to ameliorate the deleterious impact which the closure of such corporation has had upon the citizens of the state. S 2. Subdivision 4 of section 606 of the racing, pari-mutuel wagering and breeding law, as amended by chapter 115 of the laws of 2008, is amended to read as follows: 4. All
[employees and officers]PRESENT AND FUTURE RETIREES of the corporation in classes or positions whose incumbents, in equivalent classes or positions of the city, are eligible, as of the effective date hereof, to participate in, and receive benefits from any city authorized health insurance or welfare benefit program, shall be eligible to participate in, and receive benefits from any such health insurance or welfare benefit program; provided, however, that the [corporation]STATE shall reimburse the city or its designee for the actual cost of benefits under this subdivision. S 3. The sum of seven million dollars ($7,000,000), or so much thereof as may be necessary, is hereby appropriated to the department of civil service out of any moneys in the state treasury in the general fund to the credit of the aid to localities account, not otherwise appropriated, and made immediately available, for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this act. Such moneys shall be payable on the audit and warrant of the comptroller on vouchers certified or approved by the president of the civil service commission in the manner prescribed by law. S 4. This act shall take effect immediately.