The Legislature is expediting a bill that would give state police and fire unions the power to reward themselves and their members at the expense of municipalities and taxpayers. Such fast-tracking of a law without public comment is an almost infallible sign state Senate and Assembly members know they’re serving their own interests and not those of their constituents.
The bill would remove management of the state Police and Firemen’s Retirement System from the Treasury Department’s Division of Investment and the State Investment Council, and give it to a new union-controlled board. That board would not only decide where to invest the system’s $26 billion in assets, it would be able to increase benefits to retirees. But if the return on investments was poor or the board handed out too much in benefits, the unions controlling it wouldn’t be responsible — the shortfalls would be made up by taxpayers and towns.
As the N.J. State League of Municipalities puts it, “The bill will allow public safety union members and retirees to enhance their own benefits, while forcing their public employers and New Jersey taxpayers to assume the risk.”