December 1, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Trenton, NJ – The New Jersey legislature voted unanimously Nov. 21 to require the state to make quarterly payments to its chronically underfunded pension system for public workers.
Gov. Chris Christie has twice vetoed similar measures, but state Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) said he was “very confident” that the governor is going to sign this one. If the state has to borrow money to make a payment, the pension fund would have to reimburse it for any losses. The head of the state’s largest public worker union said she supported the bill, but called it “meaningless” without a constitutional amendment requiring full annual payments to the fund—which Christie has repeatedly refused to make. “When it comes to this state’s pension, history shows we simply cannot rely on the word of the governor or legislature,” said Hetty Rosenstein, New Jersey director of the Communications Workers of America. “So, without a constitutional amendment requiring payments, New Jersey’s working men and women could be getting quarterly payments of nothing.” Read more