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South Queens lawmaker celebrates policy victories secured in final state budget

Jun. 7, 2023 By Bill Parry

In addition to toasting the opening of the summer swim season with her constituents at Connolly’s near the Rockaway Beach boardwalk, Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato celebrated significant policy victories secured in last month’s final state budget.

She has been receiving positive feedback from members of the NYPD for legislation that would provide equity to police by allowing them to borrow from their pensions. Under the law, current members of the NYPD were prohibited from borrowing from contributions made to their pension fund.

The Assemblywoman has received phone calls and gratitude from members of the NYPD for her legislation that would allow them to borrow from their pension funds.Courtesy of Pheffer Amato’s office

This has been an ongoing topic of concern in the police community as the ability to take pension loans has long been a benefit for public employees who often use the loans to fund educational expenses, a down payment on a mortgage, or other vital needs. Her legislation, A.6044, would grant this important right to be consistent with the rights available to other public employees throughout the city and state.

“For our police officers to not have the right to borrow from their pension, like every other city and state worker, is unacceptable,” Pheffer Amato said. “After tireless months of work, I am happy to see this policy change and know that our police and their families will have the option to take a pension loan. The police are there to protect us and help us every day, we owe it to them and their families too.”

Pheffer Amato secured new programs in the state’s civil service system.Courtesy of Pheffer Amato’s office

Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch thanked Pheffer Amato on behalf of his members.

“Assemblywoman Pheffer Amato has been in our corner on this issue since day one,” Lynch said. “We thank her for once again standing up for New York City police officers and helping us move closer to equitable benefits with police officers elsewhere in New York state. We look forward to continuing to work with her to correct the remaining pension inequities that affect the majority of the Finest.”

In her role as chair of the Committee of Governmental Employees, Pheffer Amato was also able to secure the implementation of new programs in the state budget that removes barriers and expands opportunities in the state’s civil service system. For years, the cost of the state’s civil service exams had been a concern for those applying for jobs. One would pay a fee, but in the event you didn’t pass, or the results were released too late to be used for that role, applicants didn’t receive a refund. That changed with the enactment of a pilot program to waive civil service fees.

Pheffer Amato also secured a much-needed solution to the ongoing teacher shortage across New York state. School districts and BOCES outside of New York City would have the ability to employ retirees without a reduction in their pension. School districts across the state have voiced their inability to retain teachers and the negative impact this has had on students. This legislation being added to the budget gives school districts the ability to bring back experienced retired teachers without hurting their retirement pension, while also allowing the search and training for new teachers to continue.

“These are changes that will help all of us as a whole. With these pieces of my legislation included in the budget, we are taking drastic steps to remove barriers to getting a job and people being able to obtain the New York Dream,” Pheffer Amato said. “We’re ensuring anyone who wants to take a civil service exam can and that school districts will have the ability to have teachers in classrooms. This, along with other components of the state’s budget will make an improvement and bring a benefit to our state.”

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