In his argument in the pension payment case (now online) Steven Weissman, an attorney for the state branches of Communications Workers of America and the AFL-CIO, may have given the state a lifeline to avoid making their contributions.
My feeling is that if the unions prevail in this case and New Jersey is forced to obey the 2011 law and put in that extra $1.6 billion next month then it will mean that contributions in the future would also be unavoidable and the action would shift to the actuaries and how they come up with those contribution amounts. But that’s not what Mr. Weissman argued:
The question is if (as Justice Rabner posed the question at 7:20 of the video) we are in 2018 and the state is unable to come up with $5 billion in contributions but it can prove that putting in a lower amount is ‘reasonable and necessary’ then would they be able to get away with putting in that lower amount? Mr. Weissman answered ‘yes’ but, if that is so, then why can’t the state argue similarly when the amount is $2.3 billion and the year is 2015?