Report: 18% Rise in NY Pensions Over $100K

More than 50% of six-figure pensioners are from police, firefighter units, Empire Center reports.

The number of retirees receiving pensions of $100,000 or higher from the New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS) increased 18% during the system’s 2017 fiscal year, according to a study from the Empire Center.

According to the data—uploaded through the Empire Center’s transparency website SeeThoughNY—3,817 retirees collected pensions of more than $100,000 during the fiscal year ending March 31. In FY 2016, the number of six-figure retirees was 3,230, compared against 410,764 New York pensions, according to SeeThroughNY, a site funded by the Empire Center for Public Policy.

Of the retirees, 2,352 were former firefighters and police officers—the majority from Nassau County (879) and Suffolk County (400) governments—compared to the previous year’s 1,939.

In 2016, the average NYSLRS pension for police officers and firefighter retirees with at least 20-year tenures was $76,172. The average was $47,720 for other NYSLRS pensioners with a minimum 30-year tenure.

The largest pension was awarded to former Roswell Park Cancer Institute senior staff member Dr. Shashikant Lele, who was eligible to collect $436,356. An additional 16 pensions statewide topped $200,000.

Social Security benefits were not included in the figures.

Empire Center data included the pension records of retirees in state government, public authorities, counties, towns, villages, cities not including New York City, special districts, and school districts.

“The number of taxpayer-supported six-figure pensions is going to keep growing,” Tim Hoefer, executive director of the Empire Center, said in a statement. “Every year Albany waits to modernize our public retirement system and place new employees in a more sustainable defined-contribution plan puts our children and grandchildren on the hook for more future risk.”

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