In response to a media report today that shows lobbyists, who represent associations of counties, cities and school boards, receive public pensions in 20 states, including New Jersey, Sen. Steve Oroho and Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose and Assemblyman Parker Space said it’s time for the Legislature to end this outrageous practice.
“One of the reasons New Jersey’s public employee pension system was on the verge of collapse is because of ridiculous policies like this that allow government pensions to be paid to private organizations,” said McHose, R-Sussex, Warren and Morris. “While we have made excellent reforms to save the system, more are needed. Steve, Parker and I sponsor legislation to eliminate this ludicrous practice, but Democrats have stalled our efforts to end this special treatment for lobbyists which puts a huge drain on the system. It’s time for our colleagues on the other side of the aisle to stop protecting special interests and instead do what is in the best interests of taxpayers.”
According to the Associated Press article, many lobbyists receive state health care benefits as well. The lobby firms, it noted, are private entities and, as such, are not subject to public oversight; they pay their top executives private-sector salaries, and sometimes lobby for positions that are in conflict with taxpayers.
“Public pensions are for retired public employees who worked hard to serve the taxpayers of New Jersey,” said Space, R-Sussex, Warren and Morris. “It is outrageous to think that already overburdened residents are being asked to foot the retirement bills of private sector lobbyists. Unfortunately, Democrats prefer to play politics at the expense of our taxpayers.”
“Some employees of unions that represent government employees are permitted to stay in the State pension system, even while they are working full-time on union business and not at their State jobs working for taxpayers. That such practices are allowed is unconscionable,” said Oroho, R-Sussex, Warren and Morris. “This issue needs to be addressed now. Taxpayers should not be on the hook paying for the retirement plans of private sector workers.”
The 24th Legislative District lawmakers are the sponsors of S-1622/A-2438, a bill that removes from the pension system and from the State Health Benefits program employees of such groups — the League of Municipalities, School Boards Association, etc., including Joint Insurance Fund employees and those of nonprofit college fundraising entities — with less than 10 years of service, and any future employees of such groups.
“As we enacted bipartisan pension reforms in the past it’s time we now adopt measures to weed out this government waste,” Oroho stated.