NJ State Senator Says Get 'Politicians' out of Pension System

April 21, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - New Jersey state senator Bill Baroni has asked Attorney General Anne Milgram to stop those who serve on obscure state consumer-affairs boards that meet seldomly from earning taxpayer-funded retirement benefits.

The Associated Press reports that Baroni requested in a letter to Milgram, who oversees the state Consumers Affairs Division, that she cut these individuals’ annual compensation below the $1,500 threshold that lets them earn a year’s credit for the pension. Baroni said people serving on numerous consumer-affairs licensing boards build up retirement benefits in the state system even though the boards meet infrequently.

“The first thing to do to strengthen the pension system is get the politicians out of it,” Baroni commented.

Baroni pointed out that other state boards worked well without paying members. “It is my strong belief that no damage will be done to the quality of board members if you use your statutory power and reduce the compensation of board members to end one of the most egregious and indefensible abuses of the pension system in our state,” Baroni said in his letter, according to the AP.

New Jersey ‘s $77.7 billion pension fund has a $25 billion shortfall and has lost $4.4 billion in recent months due to the ailing stock market.