Changes to the bill helped gain wider support for the four mandated annual payments.
In mid-November 2016, the New Jersey Legislature approved a bill that would require the state to make quarterly pension payments. This came on the heels of the state’s 10th credit downgrade under Gov. Chris Christie’s tenure, thanks to concerns with New Jersey’s budget woes and unfunded pension liabilities.
The proposal to mandate regular pension payments has been floating around Trenton for some time. Christie has vetoed it twice, and Senate President Stephen Sweeney also reversed his support of a similar constitutional amendment earlier this year. The latest bill, however, includes changes that helped garner wider support, such as flexibility for the treasurer to make the mandated payment within a quarterly window of time rather than on a specific day. A regular law, rather than a constitutional amendment, is also preferred.
Currently, pension payments are made once a year, at the end of the fiscal year in June. If Christie signs the bill (S2810), the payments would have to be made by Sept. 30, Dec. 31, March 31, and June 31 each year.