A proposed constitutional amendment, which would require New Jersey to make full, quarterly contributions to its pension funds, passed a state Assembly committee on Monday by a 5-2 vote.
State Democrats, who have been championing the amendment for years, are pushing for placement on the November ballot.
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An identical resolution was passed by the Legislature last year and must pass again this year in order to qualify for the fall election, which is expected to see high turnout from the presidential race.
The measure (ACR109) was approved by a 5-2 vote along party lines, with Republicans expressing concerns that the mandatory payments could lead to steep tax increases.
Without the amendment, the size of the state’s payment — or whether the state makes one at all — is at the discretion of the governor and the Legislature. That’s part of the reason the state’s portion of the pension system is only about 48.6 percent funded.
The amendment also would force the state to make the contribution into the retirement fund in installments throughout the year. State Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) has said waiting until the end of the year costs the state millions of dollars in investment earnings.