CURRAN, COLLEAGUES & VETERANS CALL OUT GOV. FOR NOT INCLUDING VETERANS’ BUYBACK BILL IN PROPOSED
Renews call for veterans’ buyback to include ALL veterans in final budget
Assemblyman Brian Curran (Lynbrook-21st AD), his colleagues Assemblyman Michael Montesano (R,C,I-Glen Head), Assemblyman Ed Ra (R-Franklin Square), and Assemblyman Joseph S. Saladino, VFW Post commanders and veterans called out Gov. Andrew Cuomo today for excluding the veterans’ buyback provision that would provide military veterans enrolled in the public retirement system the option to buy back pension credits in his proposed Executive Budget. The group called into question the governor’s priorities and renewed their position to include all veterans in the buyback provision before a final budget is passed.
“We are drawing attention to an issue that needs it. By excluding the veterans’ buyback provision in his state budget proposal, the governor sends a strong message to our heroes that they are not his priority,” said Curran. “All of our veterans deserve this and there is no question that this should be negotiated into the final budget. Since the opportunity was missed late last year to override the veto, the next logical opportunity and place to address this is in the state budget. This legislation has unanimous consent from the Legislature, so we see a good shot of including it in the budget before it is passed on April 1.”
“I am glad to have had the opportunity to join Assemblyman Curran, local veterans and VFW representatives at today’s event,” said Montesano. “Together we reiterated the importance of moving forward with adopting this measure. This legislation has had overwhelming support from both sides of the aisle in both houses repeatedly, and it is only right that it is included in the final budget. It is long overdue that we provide our brave veterans with the benefits that they deserve, and we implore the governor to do what's right.”
State Senate candidate Chris McGrath noted, "This is something where veterans need a voice and I promise them that they are going to have the biggest voice in the Senate if I am elected as their Senator."
“We are very appreciative for the leadership Assemblymen Curran and Montesano have shown on this important issue,” said Assemblyman Saladino. “I am very focused on working in Albany to protect our veterans, servicemen and servicewomen who have sacrificed so much for our nation.”
“Today we joined together to send an important message to the governor on behalf of all veterans across New York State,” said Ra. “It is imperative that this measure finds its way into the final budget this year so we can finally correct the current unfair requirements and provide benefits to those who have rightfully earned them.”
In a November 2014 press release, Curran condemned the governor’s first veto action and called on the legislature to override his veto, which was ignored. After going back to the drawing board, Curran then called on Assembly Democrats to pass the newly-revised veterans benefit bill, which ended up passing on June 25, 2015.
At the end of last year, Curran was told by the governor’s office that the governor was eager to move the program forward by working with him, bill sponsors and legislative leaders after the governor received public backlash from veterans across New York State for vetoing the bi-partisan legislation again. Curran, a long-time veterans advocate and member of the Assembly Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said that based on those conversations with the governor’s office, it was implied the veterans’ buyback bill would be included in this year’s budget – it was not.
Currently, the New York State Military Service Credit Law only permits active public employees who served in the military during certain periods, in some selected countries, or who received some selected medals, to purchase up to three years of credit for their military service. Assembly Bill 8174-A would have extended the credit to all honorably-discharged veterans. Curran reiterated his support to include all veterans in the legislation’s final form.