Untouchable Pension Payments Is "Road to Ruin"

Date: February 16, 2016 Last Edit: February 17, 2016

Proposed constitutional amendment would be an unprecedented move guaranteeing pension funding.

Untouchable Pension Payments Is ‘Road to Ruin’

The New Jersey Legislature is proposing a constitutional amendment that would require consistent, large contributions to the public employee pension fund from the state budget every quarter.

If voters approve the proposal at the ballot box in November, the pension amendment would no doubt lead to steep tax increases or massive budget cuts on things like schools and hospitals. Under the amendment, the state would be mandated to pay half of its required contribution—approximately $2 billion—in the next fiscal year.

Gov. Christie, who cannot veto a constitutional amendment, blasted the proposal during his State of the State address: “This is the road to ruin. We cannot deny funding for healthcare, education, criminal justice, the poor, our environment, our children and our infrastructure to pander to pensioners. We cannot soak every taxpayer for the benefit of the privileged few.”

Pension funding has been a consistent source of contention in New Jersey, which has billions in unfunded liability. Gov. Christie has been pushing to reduce health benefits for public employees in order to funnel the savings into the pension system, and he has also had to cut pension contributions in order to balance the state budget.

NFIB opposes this proposal and will be fighting against it to protect small businesses from the inevitable tax hikes that would result from it being approved.

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