Senator Joe Pennacchio (R- Morris) lauded the FY 2014 budget’s record pension payment as further proof that Republican leadership has reversed course and set the state’s pension systems on a path toward long-term solvency.
“After past administrations worried more about growing government than the rising cost to tax payers and solidifying the future of our public employees, Governor Christie’s $1.67 billion allocation for FY 2014 is the single largest pension payment in the state’s history,” Pennacchio said. “This record payment builds on the landmark pension and health benefits reform measure I sponsored two years ago.
“With the FY 2014 pension payment, the Christie administration has allocated $3.1 billion to the pension system, compared to just $3.4 billion paid in under the five previous administrations since 1995. Rather than being content to stay the course of making the same financially destructive decisions of past administrations, we are now fulfilling our commitment to the thousands of hardworking public employees.
“The tough but needed decisions made two years ago to reign in the state’s pension and benefits costs have also helped cut the burden to local governments, contributing to slowed property tax growth for residents.
“The state Department of Treasury reported in April that local government pension costs are projected to be $540 million – or 25 percent – lower in FY 2014 than had the reforms not been enacted. In total, local governments and school districts are expected to contribute $1.57 billion to the state’s pension systems this fiscal year, compared to the $2.11 billion they would have been responsible for without the historic reforms. Since enacted, the reform measures are estimated to have saved local governments $1.3 billion.
“The tough choices made two years ago were worth it. The burden to tax payers has been lessened, a pension system once spiraling toward collapse is moving toward solvency and the state’s promise to public employees has been upheld.”