In the wee small hours of the morning--when this kind of stuff usually happens in Albany--groggy New York lawmakers approved a pension reform bill. It's a heavily modified version of Governor Andrew Cuomo's Tier 6 pension proposal, reducing benefits (but by much less than he proposed) while producing net projected savings based on an increase in employee contributions.
As the governor himself noted, the employee contributions--applying only to workers hired on or after April 1--put New York more in line with other states. Otherwise, the new pension "tier" includes no broad structural reform, retaining a proposed defined-contribution option only for non-union employees earning over $75,000 a year. Cuomo nonetheless called it "bold and transformational," and unions reacted with predictable sky-has-fallen excess.
I delve into specifics at our NYTorch blog here, and here.
One odd quirk in the bill: provisions giving the governor (or in New York City, the mayor) discretion to grant early retirement benefits if unions petition for them. Employees will supposedly pay entirely for these benefits through their own "additional contributions." But public pension accounting doesn't cost-out anything properly to begin with, so this could set the stage for some enormous unfunded liabilities if the pension funds run into another rough market patch. (But that will never happen, right?)