New York State Retirement System website

New York State Retirement System website Credit:

Taxpayers fund public employee pensions, so they deserve to know how the money is spent. The New York State Publishers Association, a news media group, rightly argues that it's an essential aspect of open government.

Pension facts had been considered subject to the state's Freedom of Information Law -- which was uncontroversial, it seemed, as long as no one sought to use the data. When the pension obligations of state and local governments became grist for new organizations and analysts who put names and amounts -- but not addresses -- on the Internet, that all changed. Public employee unions sued to prevent the release of retiree information and an appellate court agreed with them last year. The law needs to be restated to make it clear that disclosure is vital. The State Assembly has unanimously passed a bill to do so and the Senate should follow.

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