ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told the Legislature on Wednesday that he's willing to risk a shut-down of government to create a cheaper pension system for the next generations of public workers.

"It is one of the seminal clashes of this budget and of my administration," Cuomo told reporters. "The question is, does this body, does this government, does this Legislature perpetuate a pension system that is on the verge of bankrupting the state … or does the Legislature respond to the needs of the people?"

The Democrat, who usually makes a great effort publicly to get along with the majorities of the Senate and Assembly, noted that powerful public unions with great influence in both chambers oppose his cost-cutting proposal. He said his plan "goes right to the heart of the beast … the central power struggle of Albany."

Cuomo said he alone in Albany want to cut the costs of future public employees in part by providing an optional 401k retirement plan and cutting down what he calls abuses — including ramping up overtime pay late in a career to pad a pension benefit.

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