Mayors of two of the largest cities in the state told a panel of lawmakers today they are supportive of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to allow local governments to defer pension costs in order to tap into further cost savings now.

The testimony comes before that of Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, Cuomo’s hand-picked state Democratic Party co-chairwoman, who has been critical of pension smoothing proposal in the $142.6 billion budget.

“I’m not here to complain about the pension payments,” Richards told the panel. “I’m here to support a program the helps us pay for it.”

Richards compared the deferral of costs by locking a stable rate to the $15 million in spin-up aid to Rochester that was approved last year.

Later with reporters, Richards said he was speaking for himself and that he hadn’t been leaned on by the Cuomo administration to be supportive of the idea.

Spano, too, called the pension plan “a thoughtful proposal.”

His city has been struggling under crippling pension costs, which he said will grow by nearly 20 percent in the coming years.

Spano said amortization that’s already allowed prevented an 8 percent increase in property taxes.

Still, Spano said the retirement costs remain a trouble spot.

“Some of that was caused by prior administrations and contracts that were put in place when the economics were much better,” he said.

Earlier in the day, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg carefully criticized the concept of pension smoothing, calling it “bad policy.”