Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A Solution For One State's Pension Fund Crisis?

New Jersey State Sen. Joe Pennacchio will introduce a budget resolution to increase the governor’s proposed pension payment by $500 million in the FY17 state budget without raising taxes. (

As New Jersey's FY17 budget process is beginning, State Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris) said that he will introduce a state budget resolution to increase the governor’s proposed pension payment by $500 million without raising taxes.

The Senator’s resolution would use funds from the larger-than-anticipated surplus if there are no fiscal emergencies by the end of the next fiscal year. It would still leave the FY17 State Budget with approximately $300 million in surplus, similar to the surplus for many of the recent Christie budgets and even higher than several Gov. McGreevey budgets.

“New Jersey Republicans have always said we will support making the biggest, fiscally responsible state pension payment,” Pennacchio said. “I endorse freezing all spending in the governor’s FY17 budget as he proposed it and eliminating any of the usual requests for legislators’ spending additions. As long as there are no fiscal emergencies in the next couple of months, we can increase the governor’s proposed record-high pension payment by as much as $500 million and keep the same surplus we have had in recent years. We can do this without raising taxes, cutting public services and jeopardizing job growth.”

Senator Pennacchio pointed out how this increased pension dedication will show that Senate Republicans are prioritizing pension payments over other spending items sometimes referred to as pork barrel or Christmas tree.

“If Democrats are serious about mandating greater pension payments, such as SCR-2, this budget resolution should be supported and all other legislative add-ons in this year’s FY17 budget process should be prohibited,” Pennacchio said. “To focus only on increased pension payments and avoid new spending, that requires the fiscal discipline that Democrats often struggle with but will be required in SCR-2. We will see what Democrats’ real priorities are if they can’t focus all of their spending requests on this one item as I am, or maybe it will show SCR-2 to just be political theater.”

Senator Pennacchio will introduce this budget resolution in May or June, as the process warrants.

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