Assemblywoman Amy Paulin of Scarsdale is accusing Mayor Bill de Blasio of not "understanding the military," after the mayor declined to support a bill that would allow servicemembers to purchase credit toward the public retirement system based on their years of service.
The bill, which was introduced in June by Paulin and state Sen. Bill Larkin, allows members of a public retirement system to obtain three years of service credit for up to three years of military duty if they were honorably discharged. The legislation also broadens the eligible servicemembers to include those who served in peacetime and adds military conflicts—like Bosnia and Afghanistan.
De Blasio supports a more narrow bill that would restrict the process to those who served in Afghanistan.
Councilman Eric Ulrich, chair of the council’s committee on veterans, chided the administration for not allowing veterans to collect the benefit.
“All veterans deserve the opportunity to buy back their military time so that it can be counted towards their pension,” Ulrich told POLITICO New York. “We should not discriminate any veteran especially those who served post 9/11 or in non-combat role. We are not giving them something for free. First of all, they earned it, and second of all, they have to pay for it.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo vetoed similar legislation last year, saying it was an unfunded mandate and should instead be dealt with in the state budget. Paulin said she had worked with the governor’s office since then to amend the bill.