Despite the protests of the ranking Democrat on the Assembly Budget Committee, Assembly Republicans Declan O’Scanlon and Gary Chiusano said the Legislature cannot wait any longer to enact public employee benefits reform that will save the pension system from collapse and make it affordable for taxpayers.
“It’s encouraging to see an urgent bipartisan movement toward enacting comprehensive public employee benefits reform, but it’s troubling to see that some still don’t see that there’s a crisis facing the state’s pension system,” O’Scanlon, the Assembly Republican Budget Officer, R-Monmouth and Mercer, said. “Democratic leadership, including Assemblyman Greenwald, have had years to reform the system heading for collapse, but chose to do nothing.
“Now, every day they stall is another day closer to a meltdown of the pension system. February is over, and the Assembly should be advancing reform on Thursday that could provide pension funding and property tax relief,” O’Scanlon added.
O’Scanlon was referring to comments made by Democratic Assemblyman Lou Greenwald in the Courier-Post who said “Let’s not try to do this in three weeks,” objecting to the mid-March deadline for pension reform endorsed by Republican Governor Chris Christie and Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney.
“Just as with previous reforms – if Assemblyman Greenwald wants to constructively talk about our proposals we’re happy to meet anytime, anywhere,” O’Scanlon said. “The only prerequisites are that the policy must actually solve the problems at hand, be sustainable in the long term and affordable to the taxpayers of New Jersey. We will not stand for ‘reform in name only’ measures. The time has come for real action.”
O’Scanlon and Chiusano, R-Sussex, Morris and Hunterdon, sponsor A-3796, long-overdue pension reform that would require public employees to contribute more toward their retirements, revise the pension formula, eliminate cost-of-living adjustments and raise the retirement age.
“This proposal is revolutionary, but not entirely new,” Chiusano said. “Many of the ideas were part of the bipartisan recommendations from the Legislature’s special property tax session in 2006. We would be in a much better position today if Democratic legislators such as Assemblyman Greenwald served the public instead of political interests and had stopped former Governor Corzine from yanking these important reforms away from taxpayers and public employees.
“Democrat Legislative leadership stalled for the eight years they had complete control of the legislative and executive branches of our government. Their refusal to deal with this issue has put the fiscal well-being of every public worker and taxpayer in the State at risk. They had eight years – they have no business asking for more time,” Chiusano added. TLS.
If there is a meltdown on the pension system , it’s due to the years upon years of not funding it. Public employees have contributed into the system, and the state has only borrowed from it. Meanwhile the Republicans have an agenda to do away with unions and workers rights. Then you have Mr. Master Bully CC making deals behind closed doors with Mr. Sweeney. How wonderful. All this at the expense of hard working people who happen to be tax payers too. All the lovely lies all these Republican Governors have our country of the free. All for the rich and lets run over the middle class and poor. So don’t believe all you hear about how public employees are draining the system.
how about the politicians putting back the money they took loans out to balance the budgets and then never paid back. We have no problem paying more for benefits and towatds pensions, but put our monies back. What are they going to do, have us contribute more so they can take the money again?
Thank you TLS for allowing the truth to come out. There is a crisis with the spending in this country and the state, and the Democrats are not allowing the needed reform.
Remember when Bush and the Republicans tried to fix and regulate Fannie and Freddie back in 2003? They realized there was a crisis brewing with sub-prime mortgages. But the Democrats in Congress blocked the Republicans from reforming Fannie and Freddie. They told everyone that “the Republicans are trying to make it harder for minorities and the poor from getting ahead and buying homes [they can’t afford]”. Well, the Republicans didn’t stick to their guns against the Democrats, and we know the results of that….. this entire financial mess.
There is a crisis brewing in NJ [and all states]. It’s the pensions, the public sector unions, and the unsustainable liabilities that WILL bankrupt the states.
The Democrats will try to stop the needed reform, and they will call the Republicans all sorts of names. But we can’t let that stop the Republicans from reforming, or the next crisis will be worse than the current one.
In case they forgot, it was a republican that first starting taking money out of those pension funds.
If it’s true that the republicans are out to get the middle class, then why didn’t the democrats put the money back when they were in office?
Sorry but everyone forgets how the evil pension funds helped the state when they were taking money from it. Now put the money back and stop trying to STEAL for the blue collar Americans. The pensions should have never trusted the state!
to #5- The democrats are to blame as well, but Corzine did try to fix it. He started to fund it again but the legistlators didn’t want to see the piggy bank they’d been dipping into disappear. there was an article in Money magazine in 2009 that outlined how we got here: “Gov. Corzine’s efforts to prop up the plan have had mixed results. After taking office he boosted contributions, injecting about $1 billion in 2007 and a similar amount in 2008. He planned to add another $1 billion in 2009, but in response to budget pressures now wants to spread that money over two years. And the legislature just passed a “pension holiday” bill that allows municipalities to skip their pension contributions for 2009.
Corzine has also imposed reduced benefits on state workers. Since 2007 he has raised the retirement age to 62, increased the salary requirement for pension eligibility, increased employee contributions, and capped pension income. But unions are fighting his request that members take unpaid furloughs and give up some or all of the wage hikes they are due. ”
The rank and file workers are not the ones that created this mess, but they are being villified- it’s easy for politicians to pit people against eachother in hard times. Instead of fighting for more for ourselves, some private sector workers would rather punish public sector and union members- but it will only benefit the rich, big business and wall street. How does that help anyone in the middle class??
Exactly #4… I love how the Republicans love passing the blame to someone else. I guess they forgot it was their Republican Christie Whittman , who millions from the pension system to balance her budget and then invested more in the stock market and LOST it. And every governor after that both Democrat and Republican alike, deferred payments. Does that make sense, NO. Any sensible person knows that the more and more you put off paying anything, you will just have a bigger payment in the end. Pensioners, like the PFRS, which include our police, continued to contribute 8.5 % of their salary that was agreed upon. Not to mention the other 1.5 % they pay for insurance as well. The Politicians made this MESS and they are looking for a SCAPEGOAT to pin their mismanagement and misspending ventures on.
I posted a reply to #5 but it didn’t get posted. Oh well, in a nutshell- ALL the politicans are to blame. By the way, they get pensions and healthcare for life but don’t pay one dime towards them. They choose to pit the middle class against eachother, it’s easier than being honest about what really happened. The only people who win in this are the rich: the corporations, the politicians and Wall Street.
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