Corzine REFUSES to reform the pension mess

From an APP article this morning, senator Kevin O’Toole give disheartening news about the pension fiasco and Corzine’s refusal to make any genuine changes.

New Jersey legislators spent the summer of 2006 searching for bipartisan solutions to a growing pension crisis. It was one of the most exhaustive reviews of state policy on public employee benefits in the history of the Legislature.

The Joint Legislative Committee on Public Employees produced a 190-page report that highlighted 41 specific recommendations for restoring solvency to the system that taxpayers depend upon to provide retirement income to firefighters, teachers and thousands of other public servants.

Since that time:

The pension deficit has ballooned from $20 billion to about $57 billion, or nearly twice the entire state budget. That’s not including the $75 billion that will be needed in the coming decades to pay for medical benefits for future retirees.

Corzine opposed most of the 41 bi-partisan recommendations, which:

included common-sense steps such as bans on early retirement programs that send pension costs soaring and an end to dual officeholding, which greatly increases the amounts paid out to elected officials from pension funds set up to compensate career government employees, not politicians.

And now with the pension programs in worse shape than they were when Corzine took office, he has broken his promise to end gimmicks and is allowing municipalities and schools to continue with the reckless pillaging the pension plans to fund other programs that started under Jim Florio.

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