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Readers Not Buying Senate President Sweeny’s Anti Tax Stance

Steve-Sweeney-Atlantic-City-finances

Here’s the playbook:
.
1. Protest about high cost and government waste.
2. Vigerously declare that raising taxes is not the answer – become the “anti-tax guy”
3. Declare that all options were exhausted and you reluctanly must raise taxes – there is no other way and you know how mush i abhor raising taxes
4. Raise taxes according to my original plan and intent.
.
Rinse.
Repeat.

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Assemblywomen Holly Schepisi : “Any tax and spending increases without real reforms to our pension system is irresponsible and reckless”

July 1,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ,in a last minute deal the state government shut down has been avoided . Assemblywomen Holly Schepisi , “Update for New Jersey residents. It appears a State shutdown will be averted. On the upside you will be able to go to the beach, the racetrack or a casino, and renew your license. On the downside you will be paying even more for gas, internet purchases, hospital visits, plastic and paper bags, Airbnb, Uber and Lyft, health care, and utility bills. I keep hearing a mantra of New Jersey needs sustainable revenue. However New Jersey has significant revenue. New Jersey ranks in the top 5 highest taxed states in the country. New Jersey has among the highest pension debt. Any tax and spending increases without real reforms to our pension system is irresponsible and reckless. Good luck New Jersey residents. You voted for this”

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Reader claims Five of the state’s public pension funds will still be insolvent by 2027

Phill Murphy -Sara Medina del Castillo

Five of the state’s public pension funds will still be insolvent by 2027. Murphy’s tax hike is really an effort to pay off his union vote support, it won’t help anyone in the state except his union bosses and public sector workers who already have excessive pension and healthcare benefits. Won’t last much longer as net immigration and loss of employers will accelerate under this budget. It’s easy to spend other people’s money until all of the private sector workers leave.

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New Jersey playing the lottery with pension plan

Lottery_theridgewoodblog

July 9, 2017 at 3:00 AM

One day before the June 30 budget deadline, when all eyes were focused on the controversial Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey bill, state lawmakers pulled off a remarkable sleight of hand.

Quickly and quietly, with little to no outside analysis, the Legislature approved Gov. Chris Christie’s unprecedented plan to transfer the New Jersey Lottery’s assets and revenue stream to the beleaguered state pension system, which has the largest unfunded liability in the nation.

A report by Municipal Market Analytics called the governor’s plan “magic” and said it was “an accounting scheme (and gamble) for optics and budgetary relief.”

Just like that, the pension system could claim an additional value of $13.535 billion — the value the bill put on the lottery — and book a corresponding reduction in its unfunded liability.

Just like that, the pension system was promised approximately $1 billion a year in revenue from the lottery.

http://www.njbiz.com/article/20170709/NJBIZ01/170709940/editorial-new-jersey-playing-the-lottery-with-pension-plan

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Senate Democrats Block Vote on Beck’s Pension Forfeiture Bill for 3rd Time

pension crisis

June 20, 2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ, An effort by Senator Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) to force a vote on legislation she sponsors to forfeit the pensions of corrupt public officials (S-1557) was immediately blocked by Senate Democrats at today’s session of the New Jersey Senate.

A third attempt by Sen. Jennifer Beck to force a vote on legislation she sponsors to forfeit the pensions of corrupt public officials was immediately blocked by Senate Democrats today. (SenateNJ.com)

This marks the third time Democrats have voted to block the consideration of the pension forfeiture legislation. Previous motions by Beck to move the bill were immediately tabled by the majority on February 6 and February 13.

“Time and again, Senate Democrats have voted to protect the pensions of corrupt public officials,” said Beck. “It’s inexplicable that they would continue to choose convicted officials over the taxpayers they represent.”

An investigation by the Asbury Park Press last year found at least 40 convicted criminals collecting state pension checks of up to $83,000 per year.

“The APP found a million dollars of taxpayer money going to corrupt public employees, including some found guilty on federal corruption charges,” added Beck. “Those are just the people they found, there are probably dozens more. If you violate the public trust, you don’t deserve a cushy retirement at taxpayer expense. Why is that so hard for Democrats to understand?”

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Reader says Unlike the city of Detroit, the state of New Jersey cannot declare bankruptcy

manhole DETROIT-BANKRUPTCY

Unlike the city of Detroit, the state of New Jersey cannot declare bankruptcy. Federal bankruptcy laws don’t allow it.

“It’s not provided in the federal bankruptcy laws. There is a provision for municipalities and any other kind of organization in the state to go bankrupt, but not the state itself,” said Professor J. Fred Giertz, an economist who is director of the University of Illinois’ Institute of Government and public Affairs.

And although there has been some talk of changing federal law to permit states to reorganize their financial obligations through bankruptcy, it hasn’t gone far.

“In the United States we have a federal system where the states have powers that are protected from the national government, so there’s a real question about supremacy and whether the federal government can impose bankruptcy rules on the state, which is supposed to have powers that are protected from the federal government,” Giertz said. “I don’t think there’s any likelihood it’s going to be approved by Congress anytime soon.”

• The state itself cannot file for bankruptcy under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

• Municipalities cannot file for bankruptcy under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code without approval of the state (See N.J.S.A. 52:27-40).

• The state has in the past made it clear that they would not approve such a filing by a municipality. There are red flags under state law that identify when a municipality is experiencing financial difficulty. Such a municipality must appear before the Local Finance Board with a financial recovery plan.

• It is unclear, at best, whether the major costs affecting municipalities for unionized contractual obligations can effectively be terminated, changed or even renegotiated by virtue of Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. These obligations seem to be the driving force behind bankruptcy filings by local governments in other states, but they do not appear to have been successful in creating leverage in such contractual negotiations. The lack of ability to reorganize or dissolve that enables private corporations to bring their creditors to the table for serious negotiations as leverage may not exist under Chapter 9.

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Another report shows N.J. has worst public pension debt in U.S.

Sweeney & Prieto

By Samantha Marcus | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
on April 20, 2017 at 6:14 PM, updated April 21, 2017 at 8:14 AM

TRENTON — Another study has found New Jersey’s public pension system is in the worst shape of any state in the nation.

The state’s pension woes helped boost how much money public pension systems across the U.S. have on hand versus how much they need to pay for future benefits to $1.1 trillion in 2015, the Pew Charitable Trusts said in its annual accounting of nationwide pension debts.

The figure, known as the unfunded liability, may hit $1.3 trillion in 2016, once the complete data for all 230 public-sector retirement plans becomes available, the study, released Thursday, found.

“Investment returns that fell short of expectations proved to be the largest contributor to the worsening fiscal position, with median overall returns of 3.6 percent,” Pew’s researchers said.

Pension plans in the 50 states added $157 billion in new unfunded liabilities from 2014 to 2015, though much of the increase was driven by the notoriously unstable pension funds in just five states — New Jersey, Illinois, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

From 2014 to 2015, the year Pew reviewed, New Jersey’s pension debt rose from $113.1 billion to $135.7 billion.

The Garden State held enough assets to cover just 37.5 percent of its liabilities in 2015, enough to earn the title of worst-funded in the U.S.

It’s the second report putting New Jersey at the bottom. A Bloomberg study did the same in November. In 2014, New Jersey was No. 48 in the Pew study, with Kentucky and Illinois in worse shape.

http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/04/us_public_pension_debt_rises_157b_with_help_from_n.html#incart_most_shared-politics

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N.J. labor union president steps down pending probe into missing cash

hoffa510

By Susan K. Livio | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
on April 07, 2017 at 6:08 PM, updated April 07, 2017 at 8:32 PM
CWA Local 1039 President Lionel Leach stepped down Thursday union officials pursue an internal investigation into possible missing funds. (CWA 1039)

TRENTON — The president of a local chapter of the Communications Workers of America has stepped aside amid an investigation into the disappearance of money from the local’s coffers, a union representative confirmed Friday.

CWA spokesman Joshua Henne confirmed the local’s President Lionel Leach has stepped aside while the investigation continues.

“Recently, Executive Board members of CWA Local 1039 — one of CWA’s 30 local unions in New Jersey — notified the national union of allegations regarding the mismanagement of that local. CWA takes any allegation made by members very seriously,” Henne said in a statement.

http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/04/labor_union_local_president_removed_pending_probe.html#incart_river_home

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Election-cowed legislators rushing big payoff to public unions

Sweeney & Prieto

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.”

http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/breaking/our-view-election-cowed-legislators-rushing-big-payoff-to-public/article_da625878-b3d8-5660-a3f3-35ee4d9b9408.html

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7 reasons why N.J.’s property taxes are highest in U.S. again

Ridgewood Real estate

Updated February 18, 2017
Posted February 18, 2017
By Susan K. Livio | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

With the Governor and the entire Legislature on the ballot this election year, New Jerseyans will likely hear numerous politicians promise to reduce their especially high property tax bills.

We pay among the highest property taxes in the nation. Last year, the average homeowner paid $8,500 per home, a 2.35 percent increase over 2015, according to the most recent state calculations.

Both the Christie administration and the Legislature agree the annual increases would have been worse had they not passed a 2 percent spending cap on most local expenses.

As unpleasant as it is to admit, there are several facts about the Garden State that make bringing down property taxes very difficult, according to Marc Pfeiffer, assistant director for the Bloustein Local Government Research Center at Rutgers Center. (He previously helped manage six municipalities in central and north Jersey, then more than a quarter-century at the state office overseeing local government spending.)

“New Jersey has had property tax problem for roughly 140 years. We have been talking about this forever,” Pfeiffer said. “If we could have solved it easily, it would have been done.”

In no particular order, here are 7 reasons why they’re so high.

http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/02/7_reasons_why_njs_property_taxes_are_highest_in_us.html