“The numbers speak for themselves — the pension system as we know it is unsustainable,”the governor said in a statement." 
The Cuomo plan would require a 6% employee contribution instead of the current 3%. It would also end early retirement packages.
Now, here come the paragraphs that hike my blood pressure:
"Pensions for new workers would still be enviable by the standards of the private sector, and Mr. Cuomo is not going as far as he has talked about in the past, when he raised the idea of shifting from a traditional pension to a defined contribution plan, similar to the 401(k)’sthat have proliferated in the private sector."
"Pension costs have been soaring. In New York City, costs have jumped to $8.4 billion a year from $1.1 billion in 2001, according to the governor’s office. For the state and other local governments, pension costs have risen to $6.6 billion, from $368 million in 2001."
Let's take those last 2 paragraphs, one at a time:
1) Time Magazine ran a cover story in October, 2009 titled "Why It's Time to Retire the 401k." In the story, they said: "The tax-deferred 401(k) plan, and others like it, such as the 403(b) and the IRA, have become our nation's go-to retirement piggy bank. Invented nearly 30 years ago as an executive perk — one more way to dodge Uncle Sam — the 401(k) was never meant to replace the employer-guaranteed pension fund, supplemented by Social Security, as the cornerstone of our nation's retirement system. But propelled by a combination of companies looking to cut costs and consumers who wanted control of their retirement destiny, that's exactly what happened." 
As I said in a recent message, most people will need to amass about $2 million in their 401k to fund a decent retirement. Ask your kids what they have in their 401k, and what they see as the chances they will eventually have $2 million. Remember that in 2009 the average 401k account held about $45,000, and 46% of all 401k's held less than $10,000.
You can find more on 401k's at our "pension" page: http://www.nysutrc4.org/pension.html
2) This is one I addressed in a recent message. Here's what I said:
Put that statement in the hands of the know-nothing neighbor or relative who already thinks retired teachers have such a sweet deal and see what happens the next time you meet.

Is it true? Yes. But, you need to understand the background.

As the late NYSTRS board member, Mike Corn, explained to various retiree groups during the past year. the "employer contribution rate (ECR)" is based on a rolling 5-year average of the performance of the NYSTRS investments. When the market is doing well, school boards are required to put in less money. When they perform poorly, the school boards put in more money.

It happens that the employer contribution rate was about to reach the lowest it had ever been as this century dawned. Here are the ECR's as a percentage of salary:

1990-91       6.84%
1991-92       6.64%
1992-93       8.00 %
1993-94       8.41%
1994-95       7.24%
1995-96       6.37%
1996-97       3.57%
1997-98       1.25%
1998-99       1.42%
1999-2000  1.43%
2000-2001   0.43%
2001-2002   0.36%
2002-2003   0.36%
2003-2004   2.52%
2004-2005   5.63%
2005-2006   7.97%
2006-2007   8.60 %
2007-2008   8.73%
2008-2009   7.63%
2010-2011   8.62%
2011-2012   11.11% (estimated)

Click here to go to our "pension" page and find a complete table going back to 1979. You will find that during the decade of the 1980's the ECR averaged over 20%, while during the 1990's the average was around 8%.

So, if divide the 2010-2011 rate of 8.62% by the 2001-2002 rate of 0.36% you get about 24. So it is true to say that teacher pension costs have increased by 2400% from 2001 to 2011. Are teacher pension costs exploding out of control. Hardly. Just look at the historical figures. 

Since the market's low point in 2008, the Dow is back up above 14,000 and that moving 5-year performance average will not only include the uptick since 2008 but will, by 2013, drop out the losses from the beginning of the great recession. It would be reasonable to expect the ECR to head downward when this happens.

Just be ready for the friend or relative who accosts you at the supermarket with this true, but very misleading statistic.

Unfortunately, it seems that politicians--including our Democratic governor--are very good at misleading the low-information voter with statistics!

Here's the link to the complete Times article: