|Members rallied and lobbied by the hundreds at the Statehouse on Aug. 8 as the deadline was passing to place a constitutional amendment question on the Nov. 8, 2016 ballot.
Earlier today, the Senate and Assembly passed identical bills that would require the state to make its required pension contributions each fiscal year on a quarterly basis, with payments on Sept. 30, Dec. 31, March 31, and June 30. The Senate passed S-2810 by a vote of 35-0 while the Assembly passed its companion bill, A-4, by a vote of 72-0. The bill now moves to the governor’s desk. If passed and signed by the governor, the law would take effect on July 1, 2017.
“Passing these bills is a step in the right direction,” said NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer. “Public employees have dedicated their lives to public service with the expectation that their pensions would be available when they retire, but the state has failed to meet its obligations. Ensuring that the state makes quarterly payments to fund the pensions will allow the State Investment Council (SIC) to put the money to work as soon as possible and put the pension funds on the path towards fiscal solvency.”
Under P.L. 2011, Chapter 78, the state was required to make consistent yearly payments to fund the pensions. However, since its passage, the state has failed to make the payments as required by law. A constitutional amendment that would hold the state accountable for making quarterly payments was set to appear on the November 2016 ballot, but the Senate President Steve Sweeney failed to post the resolution before the August 9 deadline.
“While passing a law to ensure the state makes quarterly payments is a good start, we must not stop there,” Steinhauer continued. “Our legislators need to also develop a responsible plan that guarantees a fully funded pension system in the long term. As evidenced by the thousands of emails and phone calls to their legislators in support of this measure, our members know they deserve nothing less.”
Other Legislative News
An NJEA-supported bill to help control prescription costs without reducing health benefits, A-4328, passed the Assembly today by a vote of 71-1 and is headed to Gov. Christie for his signature. Its companion bill, S-2749, previously passed the Senate 34-0. Learn more