Underpaid Public School Teachers in NJ

New Jersey public school teachers are underpaid, not overpaid
Report • By Jeffrey H. Keefe • February 15, 2017
Summary: Public school teachers earn 16.8 percent less in weekly wages and 12.5 percent less in weekly total compensation (wages and benefits) than other full-time workers in New Jersey. An analysis of hourly compensation shows that teachers earn 13.7 percent less in wages and 9.4 percent less in total compensation.

So concludes a paper put out yesterday by the Economic Policy Institute (latest 990 filing) with a mission:

This report describes the results of research into New Jersey public school teacher compensation. This research was initiated in response to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s attacks on New Jersey teachers’ unions and his allegations that New Jersey public school teachers are overpaid. In our analysis, we seek to answer three questions about teacher compensation in New Jersey:
  • Are New Jersey public school teachers overcompensated?

  •  How do public school teachers compare with other New Jersey employees in terms of pay equity across gender, racial, and ethnic categories?

  • Does participation in unions increase public school teacher compensation? Continue reading

Pension Surprises in NJ Budget?


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Though what is not mentioned is….

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Another Issue-Free Campaign

Phil Murphy is in the process of paying off media outlets up front and politicians prospectively in order to become the next governor of New Jersey without committing to any substantial plan of action on any issue of importance which is why this comment from an also-ran-to-be sparked my interest:

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So I dashed off a facebook message asking about his positions on pension reform and cleaning up the swamp that is New Jersey local government. The response came a few minutes ago with links.

Issues 1. Public Employees 2. Cutting Government Waste

The plan on cutting government waste is to have a state office with no power make up a report. The pension reform plan is even dumber.

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Breaking Through Power

Ralph Nader’s new book is dedicated

to all citizens who wish to better the world and are seriously willing to dedicate some of their time, talent and resources to advance important causes.

Though a little heavy on the bashing of large corporation (who, even if they do not pay much in taxes directly, do employ people who through both income and payroll taxes do pay quite a bit) there were some interesting excerpts to note:

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Connecticut Punts on Teacher Pension Payments

Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy wants towns to start paying something for teacher pensions:

Currently the state is responsible for funding, 100 percent, the Connecticut State Teachers’ Retirement System — the fund responsible for maintaining retirement benefits for over 36,000 retired and 50,000 active teachers, school administrators and their beneficiaries.

The governor said the state can no longer afford to have towns not contribute to the retirement fund for teachers.

I get the part about not paying $407 million. In New Jersey we have a long established history of payment by whim.  But if Connecticut politicians also maintain a lapdog judiciary does it extend past the point of simply allowing them to shirk contributions all the way to forcing someone else (albeit the employers of the participants) to make those payments?

Since my last review of the Connecticut Teachers Retirement System the June 30, 2016 actuarial valuation has come out so it seemed like a good day for an update.
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NFL Super Bind

It’s Super Bowl time which, for some of us, means  that the new 5500 for the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan is out and we get a better idea of how much Tom Brady really has in common with a Cleveland Iron Worker.

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Church Plan Crisis Looming

It could be another trillion dollars in unfunded Defined Benefit pensions either picked up by taxpayers or defaulted upon. Fox Rorthschild’s newsletter For Your Benefit presents the situation in an article on page 4:

In early December, the United States Supreme Court announced that it will hear three consolidated cases to decide whether pension plans established by religiously-affiliated employers are entitled to the same treatment as plans established by churches. All three cases involve defined benefit pension plans maintained by church-affiliated healthcare systems; in each case, lower courts have ruled that the plans are not exempt from ERISA and must comply with all plan qualification requirements.
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Three years ago, participants, concerned about their benefits (and knowing that PBGC guarantees will not be available), began to file lawsuits claiming that the plans maintained by their religiously-affiliated employers should not be church plans and should not be exempt from ERISA. The Supreme Court agreed to hear these cases because the appellate courts in the Third, Seventh and Ninth Circuits have ruled in favor of the plaintiff employees, while district courts in other circuits have taken the contrary position.
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A decision that plans maintained by religiously-affiliated employers are not church plans reportedly could affect millions of employees across the country and trigger pension funding liabilities in the billions of dollars.

Today we got:

Text of Amicus Brief of U.S. to Supreme Court on Definition of Church Plan (PDF)
U.S. Department of Labor [DOL]; Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation [PBGC]; U.S. Department of the Treasury; and U.S. Department of Justice

Why are these government agencies so anxious to keep these ‘church’ plans exempt from ERISA?
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