This November, voters across our state will have the opportunity to vote on an amendment to the State Constitution that would take pensions away from elected officials convicted of corruption. I strongly encourage all New Yorkers to support this much-needed measure.
Time and again, we have seen the same story: an elected official is convicted of abusing his or her office for personal benefit only to continue to collect a pension at the taxpayers’ expense. This is not only wrong – it defies common sense. Those who have abused the public trust should not receive any kind of public benefit.
When I was first elected to the State Senate in 2010, I went to Albany to fight corruption. My first priority was to work for the passage of a pension forfeiture bill. I was immensely proud to support the legislation that put this constitutional amendment on the ballot. Change may come slowly, but change does come when we fight for it. Now, we are on the cusp of seeing this critical step in the fight for ethics reform become reality.
To see why we need this amendment, we need only look to the headlines. In the past few years, several high profile cases of state elected officials being arrested and charged with corruption have further eroded public trust in government. The conduct of these individuals was disgraceful and to reward such behavior with a taxpayer funded pension is outrageous. It has to stop, and by voting for this amendment, you and I can stop it.
I encourage all New Yorkers to vote for this critical amendment when you go to the polls on November 7. Elected officials, who forfeit the public trust, should forfeit their pensions. Together, we can make sure that they are held accountable for their actions. Together, we can reform Albany.
Senator David Carlucci
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