There was an amendment to the pension funding constitutional question to be on next year’s election ballot and, as njspotlight reports, it was all about political gamesmanship:
Theproposed last week by Sweeney (D-Gloucester) called for starting the ramp-up to full payments with an estimated $3 billion payment during the 2018 fiscal year. That’s more than double the payment that Christie has budgeted for the current fiscal year.
But after the last-minute amendment yesterday, the payments would start with $2.4 billion during the 2018 fiscal year before accelerating up to a $5.5 billion payment in the 2022 fiscal year.
The change doesn’t impact the long-term actuarial calculations in a meaningful way. But from a political perspective, the adjustment gives Sweeney and other Democrats a stronger political argument to make against Christie and others who oppose the constitutional amendment. That’s because the payment that would now be required in the first year of the ramp-up is the same amount as the payment Christie’s administration has proposed in a long-term pension-funding schedule that was included in the state’s current budget.
The obvious question then being how do these politicians know what the necessary contribution will be in 2018 and future years since valuation reports opining on those required contributions are years from being released? What if the remaining trust assets or underlying census changes drastically? If politicians can make up their own contribution amounts then what do they need actuaries for?
The answer, in New Jersey anyway: