Sweeney’s Indefeasible Pension Bill

The synopsis of SCR184

Proposes constitutional amendment to require payments by State to State administered retirement systems and establish in Constitution right of public employees to pension benefit; provides for enforcement of funding obligations and benefit rights.

I had to look up the word ‘indefeasible‘* which appears six times in the bill itself and, in context, I took to mean “impossible to make good on except by miracle – not feasible“.

Notable excerpts:

The actuary for each system or fund shall compute the annual required contribution based on an annual valuation of the assets and liabilities of the system or fund pursuant to consistent and generally accepted actuarial standards.

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Remember this is public pension funding for which an actuarial standard has yet to be developed that does not get generally accepted (especially if it generates a $0 contribution number).

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The State shall commence making its annual required contribution in full to each retirement system and pension fund for public employees administered by the State in the State fiscal year that commences July 1, 2021 and shall make the required contribution in full in each fiscal year thereafter. Commencing July 1, 2017, the State shall make a payment to each retirement system and pension fund of at least 6/10ths of the full annual required contribution for each system and fund for that State fiscal year and a payment that increases by at least an additional 1/10th of the full annual required contribution for each system and fund for each subsequent fiscal year until payment of the full contribution is required to be made commencing July 1, 2021.
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The amount of the contribution to be made to each retirement system and pension fund by the State shall be included in the general appropriation law for each State fiscal year.The payment of the required contributions to be made by the State pursuant to this subparagraph shall be an indefeasible obligation of the State.
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Vested members of a retirement system or pension fund for public employees administered by the State who were members of a system or fund prior to May 21, 2010 and who attained five years of service credit in the system or fund and were provided pursuant to law with a non-forfeitable right to receive benefits shall have an indefeasible non-forfeitable right to receive benefits as provided under the laws governing the system or fund upon the attainment of five years of service credit in the retirement system or fund.
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Vested members of a retirement system or pension fund for public employees administered by the State for whom the non-forfeitable right was not provided by law who attain ten years of service credit shall have an indefeasible right to receive the benefits earned each year under the laws governing the system or fund.
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The rights reserved to the State n this paragraph shall not diminish or reduce the indefeasible obligations of the State and the indefeasible rights of members established by subparagraphs a. and b. of this paragraph.
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Nor shall anything in this paragraph apply to the indefeasible obligation of the State to make contributions to each retirement system and pension fund for public employees administered by the State as required pursuant to other provisions of this Constitution.

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* for those who may be interested, the dictionary definition is “not able to be lost, annulled, or overturned” though that makes absolutely no sense within the context of this bill and New Jersey’s administration of the pension system.
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PS: Christie responds to Sweeney:
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59 responses to this post.

  1. For decades the democrats have always been in the pockets of the NJEA and the CWA. If this statement is true, why has the taxpayer accumulated a $50 billion pension contribution bill?

    Reply

  2. Posted by Anonymous on December 9, 2015 at 11:01 am

    This is what I found?

    Definition of INDEFEASIBLE. : not capable of being annulled or voided or undone

    If your position were contrary then TL would comment time for a grammar lesson!

    Reply

  3. Posted by Anonymous on December 9, 2015 at 11:01 am

    What happened is you didnt make the pension payment that you said would have to be made by law. You knew you wouldn’t make it from the beginning and that is one more sleazy lie you have told.

    Reply

  4. Posted by Anonymous on December 9, 2015 at 11:10 am

    http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/12/christie_rails_against_nj_democrats_warns_biz_comm.html#incart_most_shared-politics

    More from NJ’s biggest BS, TL you’re a close second. Yeah private sector greedy goons ban together – problem with that is while they’re in the wealthy majority they’re in the voting minority! 4 Assembly seats lost, ? on Senate and most assuredly a Democratic Governor.

    Talk later, say after the next two Novembers.

    Reply

  5. Posted by Tough Love on December 9, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    The MOST important thing NJ’s citizens should focus on from Christie’s video is where Christie stated …….

    “How much does it cost to BUY you guys”

    The reason WHY NJ’s pensions & benefits are so grossly excessive (by any and every reasonable metric) is because the Public Sector Union have (with campaign contributions and election support) BOUGHT our Legislature.
    ———————————————————————————–
    Taxpayers ……. REFUSE to fund these outrageous Public Sector pensions & benefits.

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on December 9, 2015 at 12:45 pm

      Wrong, how much did it cost to buy Christie and who paid?

      Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on December 9, 2015 at 9:20 pm

      Christie got elected by promising to protect pensions. He lied. It won’t happen again. Sorry TL fork over your paycheck.

      Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on December 9, 2015 at 10:35 pm

        And exactly why SHOULD such grossly excessive, unnecessary, unjust, unfair (to Taxpayers), and clearly unaffordable Public Sector pensions be “protected” ?

        Contrary to your beliefs, Public Sector workers are NOT “special” and deserving of greater pensions and better benefits ….. on the taxpayers’ dime.

        Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on December 11, 2015 at 9:33 am

        Perhaps Christie is trying to protect pensions by significantly reforming them before it all goes down the drain!

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on December 11, 2015 at 11:23 am

          He not a saint. He simply knows that:

          (a) NJ can’t afford them

          (b) Current PUBLIC Sector pensions are grossly excessive, unnecessary to attract and retain a qualified workforce, are unjust, unfair, unaffordable

          (b) CLEANLY granted ONLY because the Public Sector Unions have BOUGHT NJ’s Elected Officials with campaign contributions and election support, and

          (b) NJ can’t afford them

          Reply

  6. Posted by Javagold on December 9, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    What do you all expect from a High School Dropout. New Jersey is a cesspool and Sweeney deserve each other. 2+2=5.

    Reply

  7. Posted by Anonymous on December 9, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    At what point will PW’s realize that the promise of a pension will not be kept?
    When will you guys move on and just accept reality?

    Reply

  8. Posted by S Moderation Douglas on December 9, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    Day late, dollar short, and then some.

    If this had been passed in 1996………….

    http://www.nytimes.com/1995/02/22/opinion/in-america-whitman-steals-the-future.html

    Shoulda, coulda, woulda.

    Reply

    • Posted by dentss dunnigan on December 9, 2015 at 3:18 pm

      Interesting opinion ,and that’s exactly what it is an opinion .But why of the Governors that stood on the steps that made promises to union “I’ll stand with ya”..”.I’ll fight for ya” simply to get their votes …only to hightail it out of the state once defeated ….

      Reply

    • Posted by Pat on December 9, 2015 at 4:08 pm

      Wow! That was 25 years ago and so prescient at the time! Good read…

      Reply

      • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on December 9, 2015 at 6:02 pm

        A Tale of Two Governors

        “Pension Experts Troubled by Plan to Tap CalPERS”
        June 19, 1991

        “California Gov. Pete Wilson’s plan to use part of the state’s huge public employee pension fund to help close the budget gap would be unprecedented in scope and, if successful, could lead other states to take similar measures, pension fund managers and other experts said Tuesday.

        Fund managers said they also feared that Wilson’s plan could jeopardize public employees’ retirement benefits.”

        Dot, dot, dot…

        “California Proposition 162, the “Pension Protection Act” (1992)”

        Gives CalPERS board plenary authority.

        Thank you, Pete Wilson
        ———————————
        New York Times Feb. 22, 1995

        “In America; Whitman Steals the Future”

        “Christine Todd Whitman, has chosen to finance her political ambitions with a popular buy-now, pay-later economic policy that will place a financial stranglehold on future generations of New Jerseyans.

        This is best illustrated by Mrs. Whitman’s decision to withhold billions of dollars that should be going into the public employee pension funds over the next few years, and using the bulk of that money to balance the state budget.”

        And so it begins…

        For the coup d’etat:

        “Then, with an audacity that dazzles her supporters and even draws grudging admiration from opponents, Mrs. Whitman smiles and characterizes the withheld funds as savings.”

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on December 9, 2015 at 7:12 pm

          Quoting …..

          ““California Proposition 162, the “Pension Protection Act” (1992)”

          Gives CalPERS board plenary authority.”

          ——————–

          And boy has CalPERS used that authority …. to mislead, omit material facts, and lie (witness SB400) …. and effectively bury CA’s taxpayers in debt, and all to satisfy the insatiable greed of CA’s Public Sector workers.

          Reply

  9. Posted by S Moderation Douglas on December 9, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    “Then, with an audacity that dazzles her supporters and even draws grudging admiration from opponents, Mrs. Whitman smiles and characterizes the withheld funds as savings.”

    I love that “audacity” quote, and this one, from Tom Moran, Star-Ledger Editorial Board

    “Don’t misunderstand me. They all lie, and I get that. But Christie does it with such audacity, and such frequency, that he stands out.”

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on December 9, 2015 at 10:54 pm

      Yeah, I and I get a huge chuckle that a high school dropout (who evidently did get his GED) is the most likely person to be elected NJ’s next governor.

      Wake up NJ voters …. at least those who think we can (and SHOULD) do better ….. and don’t let the high-voter-turnout Public Sector workers elect this dope and CONTINUE to rip you off by sending YOU the bill for the Grossly Excessive pensions & benefits these Democratic Clowns have promised NJ’s Public Sector workers.

      Reply

  10. Posted by Eric on December 9, 2015 at 11:19 pm

    Tough Love:
    He wears wonderful ties.
    Eric

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on December 9, 2015 at 11:34 pm

      Certainly higher on the list of desirable attributes than say:

      * A solid Education

      * A strong Financial/Economic background

      * Respecting an Elected Official’s allegiance to ALL taxpayers (not just Public Sector Unions/workers)

      * NOT mortgaging NJ’s future to further YOUR political nest today

      * Making “connectings” to fatten YOUR wallet BOTH Today & Tomorrow

      * etc.

      * etc.

      Reply

      • I don’t necessarily agree a politician must have an Ivy League education in finance to run the state. High school education (yesterday) is worth much more than it is today. Did he not become the Ironworkers Union rep? Not bad for a man who can’t read. He is personable and down-to-earth, which is what makes him appealing to me. He was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth and yet, he made it to the top of NJ government. Give the man his due…he’s earned it!

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on December 10, 2015 at 11:56 am

          The was a time (only a few years back) that Sweeney realized that all Unions are NOT the SAME, and the PUBLIC Sector Unions are HURTING Private Sector Unions like the Ironworkers ….. because so much of the State’s revenue was being gobbled-up to fund Public Sector union pension & benefits that less and less was available even for WORTHY construction projects that keep people like Ironworkers employed. He openly statted such.

          Seems that (in his growing desire to be NJ’s next Governor) he became “enlightened” to the reality that to be a winning “politician” in NJ he too had to sell his soul and become a PUBLIC-Sector-Union ass-kisser.

          Reply

  11. Posted by Eric on December 9, 2015 at 11:39 pm

    Tough Love:
    Let’s not be too picky; we are dealing with government. I would vote for him for that tie collection alone.
    Eric

    Reply

  12. Posted by Tough Love on December 10, 2015 at 4:04 am

    TAXPAYERS …. read it carefully as YOU are about to be screwed royally if this Constitutional Amendment passes.

    http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/12/christie_on_pensions_nj_dems_sold_their_votes_to_u.html

    The key takeaways:

    “Get your hands on your wallets,” the Republican governor added. “You’re the people they’re coming for.” He charged that Sweeney and other Senate Democrats had been “purchased by the public sector unions.”

    “How much have you accepted (in campaign funds) from public sector unions? How much does it take to buy you guys?”

    Which taxpayers are you going to rip off in order pay homage to the public sector worker union bosses who own you and own the Assembly Democrats?”

    The governor, who is campaigning for president on his ability to work across the aisle and end Washington dysfunction, accusing Democratsof taking millions from unions and betraying everyday citizens.

    I think the people of New Jersey want to know: How much does a share in a Democrat state senator cost? How much did it cost the NJEA to buy you people? How much did it cost the CWA (Communication Workers of America) to buy you?

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on December 10, 2015 at 7:57 am

      Don’t forget to vote, 4 Assembly seats lost, Senate up this Novembe, and the Governor next November! Yeah TL call to arms get out and vote.

      Speaking of cost who bought Christie and for how much? Scandals simmering in the pot, using his USAG connections to fend off prosecution ?, and traveling the Country on NJ taxpayers dime to run for POTUS. All the while collecting a salary for a job (Governor) he’s been AWOL from.

      Your continued one sided story paints a lopsided picture that’s unearthing your easel.

      Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on December 10, 2015 at 2:57 pm

        Lopsided ?

        Only to those who BENEFIT from a continuation of the current structure of grossly excessive pensions & benefits ….i. e. PUBLIC Sector Unions/Workers/Retirees.

        Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on December 10, 2015 at 5:07 pm

      This Governor is the epidomy of hipocrisy bought and paid for by the likes of TLs. Not mainstream middle class as they falsely claim. Watch out working class don’t be fooled by their lies, they’re not on your side. Trickle down has run dry, the crumbs are too few for the masses to survive. Financial armegedon is the key to their total and absolute control of us. No more decisiveness, it’s time to stop them from their march to victory over middle class New Jerseyans and Americans.

      Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on December 10, 2015 at 6:22 pm

        What hogwash ….. another attempt to hoodwink the readers.

        ALL of NJ’s PRIVATE Sector Taxpayers …. Rich, Middle Class, and Poor …. unnecessarily OVERPAY in their Taxes, and solely to support the insatiable greed of the Public Sector Unions & Workers …. as manifested in their undeniably GROSSLY EXCESSIVE pensions & benefits.

        These outrageous pension MUST be FROZEN for the FUTURE Service of all CURRENT Public Sector workers ……. exactly as proposed by the NJ pension Commission.

        Reply

        • Posted by Anonymous on December 10, 2015 at 7:23 pm

          You’re entitled to your opinion even if the majority of NJ’s voters disagree with your right wing conservative position. See you in November……

          Reply

          • Posted by Tough Love on December 10, 2015 at 7:29 pm

            Given the opportunity, NJ’s voters would FREEZE NJ’s Public Sector DB pensions for the Future service of all CURRENT workers ….. in a heartbeat, and by an overwhelming majority.

            In fact, I’d bet than 90+% of non-Public-Sector-Worker-families would vote to end them immediately.

            They’re not the fools you make them out to be.

          • Posted by Anonymous on December 10, 2015 at 7:31 pm

            More misstatements, I never implied any such thing. Let’s not speculate as in due time we shall see.

  13. Posted by S Moderation Douglas on December 10, 2015 at 8:53 am

    “How much does it take to buy you guys?”

    You must be new here. These guys literally can’t be bought. On either “side”.

    Reply

  14. The “public” believes in promises and honors commitments. This will pass. Why do we spend friggin $10M to relocate a plant from Delran to Camden with 0 net jobs produced? It’s a shell game based on politics. By making the pension untouchable, we effectively remove one of the shells from the game.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on December 11, 2015 at 11:32 am

      Earth to Pat,

      85% to 90% of the “public” are Private Sector Taxpayers, and they don’t expect to be BETRAYED by self-interested Elected Officials who trade their favorable votes on Public Sector pay, pensions, and benefits for Public Sector Union Campaign contributions and election support.

      Such grossly excessive pensions should not be “untouchable”. They should be FROZEN (with ZERO future growth) …. as recommended by the NJ pension Commission.

      Reply

      • Posted by Pat on December 11, 2015 at 1:18 pm

        You have a point…BUT…what % of voters will turn out? And of that %, how many do you suspect will be a PW or aligned with the PW’s cause? I agree it should be FROZEN (but not for those with more than 25 years in)! I believe if a PW has under 10 years, then automatically converted to DC plan (bond it); If 10-24 years, then Freeze it going FORWARD. iF 25+ years, then let it ride baby….

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on December 11, 2015 at 2:54 pm

          I could live with that.

          Reply

          • Posted by Tough Love on December 11, 2015 at 3:13 pm

            Assuming …. Taxpayer subsidies towards both “active” AND Retiree healthcare are reduced to a level EQUAL TO, but no greater than that typically granted Private Sector workers by their employers ….. and it applies to ALL current & future Public Sector workers & retirees.

          • Posted by george on December 22, 2015 at 11:49 pm

            You know what happens when you assume?

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