Cuomo renews pitch for limits on police, fire arbitration awards

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Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo used a question about struggling municipalities Thursday to renew his pitch for capping binding arbitration awards to police and fire departments.

Cuomo first proposed the idea in his State of the State address in January -- a 2 percent limit on raises provided through arbitration. The Legislature didn’t adopt the proposal as part of the state budget in March.

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But current arbitration laws expire in June, and Cuomo said that provides an “opportunity” to address municipalities’ long-term fiscal stress. At a news conference focusing on aid to households hit by superstorm Sandy, the governor also repeated his call for creating a “financial restructuring board” that local governments could tap.

“Let’s put together a financial restructuring board, and local governments that are in financial distress can come before the board and this board will work with them to restructure the government so it’s economically viable,” Cuomo said. “Part of part of that will be working out the contracts with their police and fire.”

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