Public pension plans are funded in part by state contributions. But, for various reasons, states often fail to make full payments into their pension systems and instead opt to use the money elsewhere in the budget.
The above chart shows the payment history of New Jersey over the last 20 years. The dark blue bars represent the dollar amount the state was required to contribute to the system; the light blue bars show how much the state actually contributed.
The last time New Jersey paid its full pension payment was 1996. Since then, payments have fallen either well short or been non-existent.
New Jersey’s state-run pension systems were collectively 64.5 percent funded and were running a $47.2 billion deficit as of 2013.
Chart credit: New Jersey Pension and Health Benefit Study Commission report