New Jersey Democrats are making another push – the latest of many over the past year – to create a (state) constitutional amendment that would force the state to make its pension contributions each year, and on a quarterly basis.
[Read the amendment here.]
New Jersey’s pension system is 48 percent funded, largely because numerous governors have elected to skimp on the state’s pension contributions over the last 20 years.
As far as the amendment, lawmakers are aiming for placement on the state’s November ballot.
More from NJ.com:
The state Legislature approved the ballot question last year and must pass it again this year with a simple majority in order to qualify for the fall election. The controversial question would ask voters whether they want to constitutionally protect those pension payments.
The measure goes before the state Assembly Judiciary Committee Monday morning.
Led by state Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester), proponents say that what is a hefty bill now will grow unmanageable later if payments are put off.
The Democrats who control both houses don’t need Republican support to put the question on the ballot. Christie also has no say in referendums.
“If we don’t do this, by 2026 or 2027, when the pensions go broke, it’s nine or ten billion dollars. And that’s coming out of the budget. Directly out of the budget,” Sweeney has said. “That’s armageddon.”
The amendment also would force the state to make the contribution into the retirement fund in installments throughout the year. Waiting until year’s end costs the state millions of dollars in investment earnings, Sweeney said, and has left it vulnerable to last-minute cuts.
Christie twice vetoed such bills, calling it “an improper and unwarranted intrusion upon the longstanding executive prerogative to determine the appropriate timing of payments in order to properly match the timing of large annual expenditures with the timing of the actual receipt of state revenues.”