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A call to reform on Medicaid, government pensions

I agree with the County Executive regarding the elimination of state mandates. In January, I put forth a resolution requesting the State to reduce, and possibly eliminate, these mandates. If we could bring Medicaid funding and services back to the federal level, instead of the Cadillac version New York State has now, we could save millions of dollars. This would help alleviate some of the need for county taxes. However, I believe we should take this a step further - it cannot stop at Medicaid reform- we need pension reform. Government workers, especially new hires, should be contributing to their own pensions in the form of a 401(k) similar to the private sector.

New York State offers public employees a defined-benefit pension, meaning that retirees receive a specified amount of money upon retirement, regardless of the state of the economy and fluctuations in the market. The time has come for public sector employees' pensions to be defined-contribution plans, whereby the employee assumes the investment risk and is not guaranteed funds upon retirement.

The fiscal restraints have become far too great and the needs of the public sector employees have to be balanced with the needs of the taxpayer. Looking to the future, these changes to pensions and Medicaid should eliminate tax increases, and I deeply believe that these changes would begin the process of reducing all property taxes.

Judy Tassone represents the Fourth District, which includes the town of Salina, the village of Liverpool and the southern portion of the town of Clay. Judy welcomes constituent feedback; she can be reached by email at jtasson3@verizon.net or at home, 457-5458.

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