NJ Republicans Propose Pension Bill

June 1, 2006 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Republicans in the New Jersey Senate have proposed changes to public employee pensions in an attempt to curb expenses that have cost the state billions of dollars.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Republicans’ plan includes researching 401(k)-type retirement plans for new public workers, only allowing public workers to have pensions at one job, banning large salary increases – increases that would inflate pensions – and discontinuing pensions for public contractors.

According to a May 19 news release from the New Jersey Republicans News page, a Republican assemblyman introduced a bill, A-3146, which will calculate pensions based on the “average annual salary over an employee’s career – not the average of the three highest paid years as is done under the current system.”

Implementing this will also raise the income threshold to qualify for the pension system so public employees will not be able to use low-paying, part-time jobs to qualify for maximum pension, the news release said. The bill will affect new employees applying for pensions.

Democrats outnumber Republicans in the Senate 22-18 – a ratio that may influence whether this plan goes forward, according to the Inquirer.

The state said in January it would begin investing in hedge funds as one way to help dig its pension system out of a $30 billion deficit (See NJ Turns to Hedge Funds to Overcome Pension Deficit).