senate1From the Morning Memo:

State lawmakers are pushing back against Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s veto of a bill that would expand pension credits for public workers who served in the military.

“He actually lumped it in with five or six other pension bills and did it as one lump sum thinking nobody would notice,” said Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, R-Canandaigua.

The bill would provide a credit to the public employees who served in Somalia, Bosnia, Haiti, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Korean DMZ.

Currently, those veterans are not eligible for the military service credit, and neither are women who served in non-combat roles. Cuomo vetoed a similar bill last year and money for expanding the credit wasn’t included in this year’s budget agreement.

“Last year the governor vetoed a similar bill, saying it wasn’t allocated in the budget, so this year, we allocated the money in the budget and he still vetoes it,” Kolb said.

Cuomo’s office counters by saying the cost isn’t insignificant. Approval of the bill would mean $229.7 million in near-term costs and $607 million in projected costs for the long term.

“Look, veterans deserve to have a break,” said State Republican Chairman Ed Cox, who agrees with the sentiment that all veterans should be included in the credit, but notes an override of the veto is highly unlikely.

“At the moment the Legislature is not in session. I think it would be difficult to override. The governor has made his decision and voters in 2018 will make their decision about the governor,” Cox said.

State lawmakers still say they aren’t giving up on pushing back against the legisaltion, arguing that the governor should have included it in the final budget agreement forged in March.

“We have to get called back to Albany to do it first and whether it’s in January or before January. I know there was one vote for this particulary bill and I can’t imagine with all those yes votes those legislators wouldn’t be willing to override the governor on this particular bill,” Kolb said.

A veto override needs more than a simple majority: Two-thirds of the legislature must approve the override to make the pension measure law.