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Jersey lawmakers look to dig the $135B pension hole even deeper

Sweeney & Prieto

By Post Editorial Board

April 2, 2017 | 7:32pm

Jersey lawmakers just don’t get it: The state’s massive pension-fund shortfalls last week prompted Moody’s to downgrade Trenton’s credit rating for the 11th time under Gov. Chris Christie, yet the Legislature wants to make the problems worse.

Moody’s cited New Jersey’s gargantuan, and growing, unfunded pension liabilities as key to its decision to lower the state’s rating from A2 to A3 — the second downgrade in four months.

The move reflects the “negative impact of significant pension underfunding” and “a persistent structural imbalance,” wrote Moody’s analyst Baye Larsen. Despite Christie’s notable boosts in payments to the funds, state contributions “remain well below the actuarial recommended” amount.

Yet lawmakers (of both parties) want Christie to sign a bill that would hand control of one of the state’s biggest funds — for police and firefighter pensions — to their union representatives.

“Giving management to the pension beneficiaries removes political interest from the investments and places responsibility with the employees who will benefit,” says Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D).

Uh, not quite — because the employees wouldn’t face any risk. With a majority of votes on the new board, union reps could hike benefits and slice the amount members must chip in. And if that plunges the fund further underwater, Jersey’s taxpayers would be the ones on the hook.

7 thoughts on “Jersey lawmakers look to dig the $135B pension hole even deeper

  1. But the upside is politicians will be able to blame the unions when it goes broke.

  2. Yes, but both the politicians and the union officials that created it have long gone.

  3. the unions are to blame for why we are in this situation in the first place.

  4. But the taxpayer is still on the hook for the goods. And, even though I think pension benefits and public servant, including teachers, salaries and benefits are also too generous, I don’t think it is right to go back on promises. Yep, still blaming the politicians. It is the only thing that I think Christie tried to get right.

  5. I’m not on the hook for ANYTHING. The union scumbags can go jump in a lake. You want anarchy? Keep it up with this crap…the good citizens of NJ are no long going to stand by and play he victim of both the union slobs and corrupt politicos.

  6. 5;15 pm You asked “You want anarchy?”

    I’ll ask you the same question DO YOU WANT ANARCHY? Screw people out of their legitimately earned retirement and you will get what you don’t want, in triplicate.

  7. It’s not $135 bil. Yes it is massively underfunded but the unfunded liability line is a theoretical load of crap. If NJ got 75 cents on the buck back from DC we would have the pensions funded and run a surplus in govt. We get shortchanged 10’s of billion$ yearly.

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