How Stupid are Credit Rating Agencies?

New Jersey is planning to answer that question with S3637 which State Senate President Stephen Sweeney introduced by noting:

Taken together, New Jersey’s state and local pension systems have an unfunded liability of more than $60 billion — one of the worst pension problems in the country — and it affects everything from the level of taxes we pay to the bond ratings we receive, to the government services we can afford to provide.

Yes, unfunded liabilities as of June 30, 2020 are “more than $60 billion”. Much more ($128 billion under GASB68 and and $94 billion using understated valuation liabilities). But, setting that aside , how is Sweeney planning on reducing that massive debt?

Simple: lower pension payments…..

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Who’s the Judge?

S3197 which “clarifies eligibility for deferred retirement for certain judges in JRS” was enacted last Friday.

The mystery, as with much New Jersey legislation, is finding out who are the judges (or judge) benefiting from this ‘clarification’ who might have requested it.

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NJ PFRS Asset Move

The New Jersey Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS) was supposed to get their assets to invest three years ago but the process seems only to be starting now with an RFQ for Class Counsel that the PFRS board sent out yesterday.

Here is how much is involved.

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New Great Depression

Now that politicians have declared the pandemic over what better book than one subtitled “Winners and Losers in a Post-Pandemic World”?

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GASB68 vs Politician Pension Numbers in NJ

Now that the 6/30/20 GASB68 valuations are out comparisons can be done with the official valuations for the New Jersey pension plans upon which recommended (and often ignored) contribution amounts are calculated.  Putting everything into a spreadsheet we find:

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Thank You Trump and NJ Accountants

New Jersey got an extra $4 billion in taxes this quarter which normally would make for a self-congratultory hearing today as the Murphy administration looks to take more bows but, for some reason, it was reported:

State Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio and the OLS analysts were supposed to discuss the revenue update Wednesday at a much-anticipated Assembly Budget Committee hearing. That was to give lawmakers an opportunity to publicly pore through the latest budget forecasts. But the hearing was canceled at the last minute Tuesday.

That reason is that the explanation would need to focus on the massive PPP bailout that Trump’s people pushed through and New Jersey accountants recognizing free money when they see it. Based on personal experience…

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Reforming Health Insurance

The Manhattan Institute came out with an issue brief that focused on the evils of state insurance regulation:

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Primarily Bribes

There will be a primary election this Tuesday in New Jersey where all the party-line candidates should win. The only reason to go through with this charade (aside form Hirsh Singh’s parents keeping him out of trouble by funding his vanity campaign) is for vested interests (mostly unions and corporate PACs) to present their bribes which are listed on the NJELEC webssite with downloadable data that yields these interesting tidbits:

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Bad Lawyer

Imagine Bouton’s Ball Four as written by a budding lawyer on the profession foisted upon her which may appear glamorous to the outsider but, as the book makes clear, is more rotten to the insider.

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Least Well-Funded State

https://files.taxfoundation.org/20210602144601/2021-State-Pension-Funding-Gap-and-State-Pension-Plan-State-Public-Pension-Funding-Finances.png

A chart taken from a Tax Foundation article that referenced a Truth In Accounting database which has this state as the worst-funded public pension system.

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