NJ Teachers Lose Fight to Force Pension Payments from State

April 3, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The New Jersey Education Association teachers union has lost its battle to force the state to make up for underfunding the Teachers Pension Annuity Fund.

South Jersey ‘s CourierPostOnline reported that Superior Court Judge Linda Feinberg rejected the union’s attempt to collect $2.6 billion from the state, saying there is still enough money in the fund to pay for decades of benefits. Feinberg said in her ruling that it was “undisputed the state did not fund the (Teachers Pension Annuity Fund) or paid a sum significantly less than the statutory contribution to satisfy its obligations in recent fiscal years,” according to the news report.

The decision was the third ruling against the NJEA in its attempt. Feinberg said the decision does not give the state the go-ahead to ignore future payments. “The state, as employer, has a fiscal responsibility to fund its pension systems,” she wrote.

In 2006, New Jersey was hit with a similar lawsuit by the state’s law enforcement union (See NJ Police Union Hits State with Pension Underfunding Suit).

Last month, the state of Illinois was also sued by the Chicago Public Schools system for not making required pension contributions (See Chicago Schools Sue State over Pension Funding).