The Prez Says:
Dear Senator Sweeney,
I have listened carefully to the things you have said concerning the Constitutional Amendment about pensions. I heard you say in February, at the NJEA Legislative Conference that it would be done before August and it wouldn’t mean any increase in taxes. As it got closer and closer to the deadline of August 8, 2016, you said the gas tax had to pass first insuring that the Transportation Trust Fund would get the needed funds. After a great deal of pressure from the public workers, who knew the Constitutional Amendment had to be passed by August 8, 2016, to be on the ballot, you asked what we were so worried about there was always next year. After all, the pension payment was in the budget for this year and we could have it on next year’s ballot.
Governor Christie has issued an Executive Order that requires that the cost of fixing roads, which was usually taken from the Transportation Trust Fund (which is essentially bankrupt) will come from the General Fund now. Well, Senator Sweeney, please tell me what guarantee we have that the state’s pension payment, which is the last thing that gets paid out of the state general fund each year, will be fully paid? Traditionally, the pension gets whatever is left when everything else is paid no matter what the budget says. A key component of the Constitutional Amendment was quarterly payments to the state pension funds. Now that won’t happen this year. How, sir, will a full pension payment be made with the additional drain of the General Fund for road repair? I’m sure you have a plan that will make sure that the pension funds you said you care so dearly about will get the amount specified in the budget. Would you please share that with all of us who are so concerned about our pensions? Remember we, the public workers, NEVER missed a payment even when the state kept saying the pension system is over funded.
Charles Moses, President
Cumberland County Retirees’ Education Association