ALBANY – Two area state lawmakers, who are armed forces veterans, blasted Governor Cuomo’s veto of the Veterans’ Equality Act that would have allowed veterans from any era to buy back up to three years of service credit in the public employment retirement systems for their military service.
Currently only vets who served during specific conflicts may buy back service credit. Iraq veterans are currently eligible while Afghanistan vets are not. The bill would have fixed that.
Senator William Larkin (R, Cornwall-on-Hudson), the prime sponsor of the legislation and a career Army officer, said he is “extremely disappointed” with the governor’s veto.
“New York has failed to keep its commitment to the men and women of our armed forces,” Larkin said. “Despite the governor’s veto, I will not stop advocating for the correction of the inequities created under New York’s current veteran service credit law and will continue to do all I can to ensure that all New York’s veterans receive the benefits they rightfully serve.”
This is the second time Cuomo vetoed the legislation; he also rejected it last year.
Marine Corps veteran, Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R, East Fishkill) also criticized the veto.
“It is disgraceful that Cuomo continues to heap billions in corporate welfare and port on his donors but claims we can’t afford to put Afghanistan and Cold War vets on equal footing with their veteran brothers and sisters from other eras and conflicts,” Lalor said.