The leader of a group that represents New Jersey’s municipalities is warning mayors that state officials may try to merge state and municipal pension systems.
Bill Dressel, the executive director of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, says the state is working on such a proposal in an attempt to improve the health of the state’s pension system.
New Jersey’s municipal pension systems are in much better shape than the state-level systems.
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According to Bill Dressel, executive director of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, there are behind the scenes discussions in Trenton about merging the state’s cash-strapped pension fund with the healthy municipal pension fund as a possible solution to getting it out of the red.
“We’re concerned that what they’re going to do is blend the two systems,” Dressel said. “To make their system look a little bit better and put it on solid ground is to blend the two together, and that would be a big mistake.”
Dressel told the mayors that municipalities should not be penalized for mismanagement of the state’s pension system. “You have bitten the bullet. You have paid your pension bills. They have not.”
The proposal could surface soon, according to Dressel, and he encouraged mayors to be loud on the issue when it does.
If the systems were indeed merged, it would lead to lower annual contributions for the state as a result of an improved funding status. By the same token, municipalities would find themselves contributing more money to the pension system.