NJ Assembly Passes Pension Reform in Late-Night Vote

June 24, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A controversial New Jersey pension reform bill was approved late Monday by the state Assembly in a vote that took about four hours, according to news reports.

Gannett News Service said the Assembly had a series of private meetings after the measure stalled earlier in the evening. However, the Assembly came back into session around 11:05 p.m. and recorded a 54-13 vote in favor of the bill (See NJ Lawmakers Hammer out Pension Reform Measure ).

The measure increases the retirement age for state workers from 60 to 62, requires government workers and teachers earn $7,500 per year to receive a pension, eliminates Lincoln’s Birthday as a holiday, allows the state to offer incentives not to take health insurance, and requires a municipal employee to work 20 hours per week to get health benefits.

The changes would mainly affect new government workers and teachers.

itxtvisited=”1″> State workers over age 58 with 25 years of service are being offered three years of additional pension credit to retire early, with smaller benefits for older workers with less service time, according to the news report. A projected 2,144 are expected to retire under the plan, including 50 who have retired since March 1 and are covered under the legislation.

itxtvisited=”1″> The extra pension credits add around $200 million in costs to the pension fund. No more than one in 10 retiring workers can be replaced, if the law is followed.

Unions representing state workers have battled against the bill, saying it unfairly targets Garden State public employees.