As comptroller of the State of New York, Thomas DiNapoli is the sole trustee of the $147.2 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund, the state employees’ defined benefit pension fund. Since his appointment to the office in February 2007, in the wake of predecessor Alan Hevesi’s resignation amid a pay-to-play scandal, DiNapoli, who was elected comptroller in his own right in November 2010, has increasingly raised his voice in support of maintaining and strengthening defined benefit pensions within and outside of the state. He is now calling for the creation of a national commission to ensure retirement income security in the U.S.

In January New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled the so-called Tier 6 pension plan that would effectively reduce pension benefits for new state employees hired in 2013. The governor and his supporters in the legislature pushed to move state workers to a defined contribution plan, a measure DiNapoli strongly objected to. “In their relatively short 31 year history, 401(k)s have proven to be woefully inadequate for those who depend on them for retirement income,” he stated at a National Institute on Retirement Security conference in early March, adding that 401(k) plans were designed to be supplements to defined benefit (DB) plans and Social Security.

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