At Work

Whose fault is underfunded NJ pensions? (And many other states)

In New Jersey, some want public workers to give up benefits to fix the state’s underfunded pension system. That’s puzzling to Governor Phil Murphy.

“It’s the state’s fault that we’ve got the deficit we have,” Murphy, 61, said in an interview Thursday after speaking at the Global Climate Summit in San Francisco. “Why would you do that if it’s the state’s fault?” source:burypensions.com

Not exactly sure who “the state” is, but the fact is the fault lies not with the state, but with the unions and a series of governors, mostly Democratic, who cut sweetheart deals that were unaffordable from the start which was known by both parties.

Murphy has know about this at least since 2005 when he chaired a task force to review state worker benefits. I was a member of that group. The end result was a watered down set of recommends and minor changes. (further changes were made).

No governor after agreeing to generous benefits for state workers and retirees had the guts to tell citizens their true cost or to raise taxes to sufficiently fund them.

In general, NJ citizens supported the unions and workers, especially teachers, and never asked about costs or the impact on their taxes, particularly property taxes.

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