Panel Recommends Atlantic City Delay Payments to Pension System For Next Three Years

Atlantic City

A task force has released its recommendations for staving off the financial collapse of Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Buried in the report is one recommendation that might sound familiar to residents of New Jersey: that the city should defer its payments into the pension system for the next three years.

From NorthJersey.com:

State officials and people outside government would take on a greater administrative role in Atlantic City under a plan for the economically troubled resort made public Thursday.

The proposal comes as the city struggles to right its budget and cover debt payments in the wake of four casino closures this year, and as a fifth casino is threatening to shut down.

To help offset financial losses brought on by the casino closings, Atlantic City would be permitted to defer payments into the public employee pension system and could qualify for more state education aid.

[…]

The details of the report were discussed Wednesday during a meeting Christie organized with local officials, casino executives and union leaders in Atlantic City. A bipartisan group of lawmakers also attended the meeting and has pledged to work cooperatively with the governor on legislation that may be required to help turn the city around.

John Bury gives his take on that part of the plan over at Bury Pensions:

New Jersey politicians and their enablers had a discussion today where they reviewed a secret report that kicked off with the suggestion:

To help ease the burden on city taxpayers, the recommendations include a three-year window for deferring the city’s employer contributions into the public employee pension system.

And that passes for a solution! How has this strategy worked out for the state which has been shortchanging the pension plans for a generation and is now in day 105 of awaiting more solutions from a study panel report that should have been released 45 days ago.

But the chilling paragraph of the northjersey.com story is:

The recommendations released Thursday were prepared by [Christie adviser Jon] Hanson, who also produced a report for Christie in 2010 that the governor used at the time to guide Atlantic City revitalization efforts.

The same adviser! Wasn’t there somebody in 2010 who looked at Hanson’s guide to AC revitalization then and saw it as a blueprint for closing half the casinos and mass layoffs?

More details of the plan can be read here.

Photo by Richard Feliciano via Flickr CC License

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