Is a symbolic win for some in the environmental movement worth a financial desolation for one million New York state pensioners and their families? This is the question that New York lawmakers must consider when casting a vote for the Fossil Fuel Divestment Act. And this question was explored in a recent Albany Times Union column exploring this issue.
The Act argues, “Divestment is financially prudent, morally imperative, responsible policy making,” but how can our legislatures claim moral, responsible policy making when it is the state pensioners that stand to lose – not large energy companies.
New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli – who, if the Act passes, will be directed to divest from fossil fuel funds – opposes playing politics with the third largest pension fund in the nation valued at $192 billion.
DiNapoli responded to the Divestment Act:
“We believe that we can actively engage with companies in building a cleaner, sustainable global economy, while fulfilling our fiduciary duty to maximize the long-term value of the fund, through profitable investments.”
Long time environmental champion Deputy Comptroller Pete Grannis elaborated on the proposed legislation:
“We are not social investors. We are investors that use our voice based on the best available economic information we can get and where we think we can have the best impact.”
As the former chairman of the Assembly Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation, Grannis understands the importance of protecting our planet – but knows that cannot come at the cost of our hardworking pensioners.
New York and pension boards across the country should look to the judgement that came from the Seattle City Employees’ Retirement System (SCERS) Board to reject any measure that would harm pensioners. Pensioners have dedicated their lives to bettering these cities with a promise of a secure financial future – any decisions made about their pensions should not be made in order to push forward a political agenda, with complete disregard for the wishes and future security of the pensioners.
Protect our Pensions applauds the leadership of Comptroller DiNapoli and Deputy Comptroller Grannis honoring their duty to serve in the spirit of the public good and not gamble with the financial future for New York state pensioners.