NJ COLA Orals (4): Relying on New Jersey

When asked about relying on the word of the State of New Jersey:

Or, in other words…..

8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by skip3house on March 16, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    Past NJ Legislatures have not funded pensions for services performed in their time.
    Certainly, the present NJ Legislature has no obligation to fund those past services.


  2. Posted by MJ on March 16, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    I’m still scratching my head and wondering how promises made 40-50 years ago to any worker for lifetime pensions and healthcare can possibly be guaranteed. Common sense would dictate that economies, financial conditions , demographics, plan costs, etc are always changing and not always for the better …..so how can any entity continue to pay out on plans that have never been reformed to address situations at hand. Doesn’t make any sense at all


  3. Another rough transcript from video:

    JUSTICE: What do you say to the thousands of employees who say that they relied on this statute to retire early, believing that they would receive COLA benefits.

    Based upon the broad language, benefits are COLAs. Even as we’re talking, I’m listening to this discussion over here, no one seems to be saying that a COLA is not a benefit.

    So what do you say to those people, who said that “we looked at the statute, we read the statute, we relied on the statute, we retired based on that statute.”

    WOMAN: Your honor, I’d say two things. One, I’d say that there’s no misrepresentation of material facts, because there is no unequivocal promise here.

    Two, I’d say that any reliance is not reasonable because this court has long said that legislative directives are not representations upon which folks can rely. And the court has also said …just… impairment jurisprudence, that even contractual rights can be impaired if it’s reasonable and necessary.

    In Gower, and [Speeder? Spina?] this court said in Gower that pension benefits can be modified in the interest of assuring the integrity of the pension system, which is what happened here. And in Spina [sp?], the court said that even if the employee’s pension rights stem from a contract, they would be little doubt of the legislat.. as to the power of the legislature to rewrite the formula for the good of all.

    And that is exactly what has occurred here. In a quintessential legislative decision, where there’s multiple stakeholders with competing benefits, the legislature sought to balance the rights and [??] for all the stakeholders.


  4. Posted by Eric on March 16, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    Mary Pat:
    Not exactly. If people had retired, prior to the law having been changed, or prior to the plan document being allowed to be modified under the new statute ie ch. 78 on June 28, 2011, the reliance placed is reasonable upon the existing law. If not, there is no law remaining in NJ, since it is therefore a Banana Republic. No law at all remains.
    Every state provides at least this much protection, at a bare minimum level, pursuant to their state statutes. Some states provide even greater protections written into their constitutions.


  5. Posted by Pauline Walnuts on March 16, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    She looks like she could be Flounder’s sister. Just sayin.


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