Piscopo Pension Proposal

While a reasoned report put forth by pension experts fades away and politicians fiddle with otiose gimmicks in an election year in New Jersey we have former governors recognizing the crisis:

and a prospective governor stepping up:

According to nj.com:

Edging closer to a run for governor, comedian Joe Piscopo says he has a plan to reform New Jersey’s ailing pensions system that would eliminate state income taxes for public school teachers, state troopers, municipal cops and firefighters in exchange for their paying more for their health benefits.

Meaning less income tax money which happens to be what the state uses (occasionally) to make pension contributions.

Piscopo said the deal to forgive taxes would not include most state workers, but stressed that this one facet of a broader effort to save pensions for the state’s 800,000 active and retired public workers.

He said he would soon debut a plan to call for the privatization of both the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway by leasing them to Fortune 500 companies, albeit only with union support.

Though that idea came up before:

According to a task force that Mr. Codey convened last year as governor, the pension and health benefits system is costing the state $2.4 billion this year, with most of it going for health benefits, out of a $28 billion state budget. In 2010, that figure is projected to climb to $6.4 billion, or 20 percent of the budget.

So to ensure full funding of benefits in future years, the report recommended that the state sell a public asset to generate $12.1 billion. The only assets approaching that in value are the two toll roads, the 148-mile-long turnpike and the 173-mile-long parkway, run by the authority.

and went nowhere.  So Governor-wannabe Piscopo has a backup plan:

He also said that he would make a second attempt at a casinos referendum in 2019 that would allow the American Dream Meadowlands retail complex in Bergen County to open a casino. He believes the state’s share of casino revenue could be used to defray pension costs by $100 million each year.

$100 million each year for a pension system that is paying out $900 million (and rising) every month and is officially reporting a $135.7 billion hole. His grasp of the real state of the pension system has gotten no better that the stuttering non-response he had in 2014.


And the saddest part is that this is the only gubernatorial candidate with ANY plan.

30 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by dentss D on January 22, 2017 at 10:35 am

    Selling assets that belong to every taxpayer and resident for the benefit of a select group ….I don’t think so …Imagine if seniors or veterans demanded the same .


    • Posted by Anonymous on January 22, 2017 at 11:31 am

      Veterans demand anymore than their taxpayers supported/guaranteed pension and health benefits, oh no! The senior, voter base, gravy train – again oh no!


    • Posted by Anonymous on January 23, 2017 at 4:39 pm

      Please tell Trumputin TPP was never approved by Congress, therefore it had no legs, no life and no chance. So what was the purpose of an executive overlooking the U.S. out of TPP. Just another example of “alternate facts”. Please stop our republic is better than these photo documented lies. The Putin Republicans still have no viable replacement to “the Affordable Care Act”, more lies and deceptions. Just like ” NJ pension reforms”, clueless.


  2. Posted by skip3house on January 22, 2017 at 10:46 am

    Leaves a wide open field for NJ retiree pension/Medicare?/and cruel regressive residential school property tax(for us all) solutions.
    Think our Lt Gov Kim G. will be able to fill this gap, or will she shy away as her competitors are doing……..Hint for Kim


  3. Posted by Anonymous on January 22, 2017 at 10:50 am

    Sounds reasonable to me. Leverage the roads in return for a huge up-front cash infusion in exchange for a guaranteed rate of return of 5% over the next 50 years and routine maintenance included by lessee.


  4. Posted by Anonymous on January 22, 2017 at 10:55 am

    Why do the new gold curtains in Trumputins Whitehouse Oval Office match Putin’s gold curtains in the Kremlin, message of unity. The Friday fireworks that spelled USR instead of USA, Trumputins team needs to check itself, everybody isn’t stupid. Is Joe an entertainer? He shouldn’t quit his night job. Kim same stuff, different gender. All the politicians in Trenton need their potential pensions so footdragging remains the norm. Trumputin have no shame in their game, the contacts with the Kremlin moved from Trump Towers to the Whitehouse. These are very interesting times.


  5. Piscopo has an excuse for proposals that are a joke. He is a comedian. How about the rest of them?


  6. Posted by MiK on January 23, 2017 at 9:57 am

    PIscopo’s idea to exempt pensions of retired teachers, state troopers, municipal cops and firefighters used to be done in many states. He’s evidently not aware of related federal law: 4 U.S.C. para 111. It will not work.


  7. Posted by George on January 23, 2017 at 10:15 am

    How about privatizing the schools, police and fire departments?

    While at it. State drivers licenses and tags will be issued by auto insurers. Cars would be inspected at any garage. Registration fee would be called what it is, a tax, and would be collected by insurers.

    Then there is the soda tax. To be followed the ice cream and frozen dessert tax. Followed by a sugar packet tax. Followed by …

    Authorize the pension system as a state monopoly in procuring and selling all manner of cannabis products including pharmaceuticals. Sort of like how alcohol is sold in Pennsylvania. To be called the Piscopo amendment (even if it is just another law).

    The minimum age for tobacco purchase will go back to zero.

    Reduce the gas tax on out of state vehicles, setting the rate to maximize collections. Why is the rate the same across the state or even time of day? We need to run tax collection like a business.


  8. Posted by MiK on January 23, 2017 at 10:26 am

    Privatizing will work.
    Need politicians who will actually do it.
    But, politicians prefer the “appearance” of doing something.

    Stop funding pension systems… Let them implode!


    • Posted by Anonymous on January 23, 2017 at 1:46 pm

      Seriously–perhaps you don’t know that nobody wants to do these jobs anymore. Now you privatize so you have 2 schools in a community–and greater demand. Who is going to signup to be a teacher? Drop $100k on your degree to start making 50k, less 1/3 of the health cost (10k), Pension contribution (3.5k), Federal/State/Fica (12.5k) then you have to pay back your loans (12k/year), and reside in NJ? Oh by the way–your raises are capped at 2% and your pension is not secure. Seriously? Teachers will flock to other states.


      • Posted by MJ on January 23, 2017 at 6:29 pm

        I have this conversation all the time, lots and lots and lots of people will still go to college to become because it is one of the easiest majors to complete. I don’t begrudge teachers making a great salary but with accountability….pay for your own retirement like the rest of us and if you want premium health plans pay for them. If you want to retire to retire at 58 the no pension until 62 0r 65 just like SS


  9. It’s false that Piscopo is the only candidate with a plan.

    Jack Ciattarelli wants to shift post-retirement medical costs to retirees, drop health insurance from “Platinum Plus” to “Gold Standard” for active employees, raise taxes on people making over $750k, and impose Combined Reporting.

    Ciattarelli also supports marijuana legalization, although it’s unclear if he wants an excise tax.

    Murphy has no plan other than “economic growth,” but it’s unfair to tar all the candidates that way.



    • Posted by Anonymous on January 23, 2017 at 12:58 pm

      You’d think with the P&B issue having a major rippel effect on the State’s finances that any candidate would have a detailed plan (good or bad, right or wrong) attempting to address this situation. Even though NJ is facing other significant, important issues putting forth a P&B plan is paramount to NJ’s budgetary future.


    • Posted by Anonymous on January 23, 2017 at 1:05 pm

      Hey SAG, what’s Jack’s position on pre Medicare retirees and when would his SS income test begin (ie at 65 or later if the retiree delays SS)? Details either not disclosed or thought of yet…..


      • Anonymous,

        I do not know the answer to this question, but I think in terms of having a comprehensive plan on NJ’s pension+debt crisis, Ciattarelli is heads and shoulders above any other candidate.

        The combination of real savings in post-retirement medical and certain tax increases is what NJ needs to get itself out of its hole.

        Murphy’s “plan” is only to raise taxes and have economic growth. He is against any spending cuts and is against any changes to post-retirement healthcare.


  10. Posted by MiK on January 23, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    Would be elected Politicians will not address the pension issue in any meaningful way. It’s far to contentious… a battle royal with the unions. They much prefer to appear to fixing it…. which is the same as the past… extend and pretend!
    Now very underfunded, underfunding will be progressively worse in the future. So just stop funding it, and pretend to be funding it… when it finally implodes the unions will deal.


  11. Posted by dentss D on January 23, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    yes ..sell 49.9% of the NJ turnpike in a stock offering terms as posted ..Stock in theNJ TPK does not constitute an investment in “stock” in the common sense of the term.
    The TPK authority will have no obligation to repay the amount a buyer pays to purchase the stock.
    Anyone considering the purchase of TPK Authority stock should not purchase the stock to make a profit or to receive a dividend or tax deduction or any other economic benefits.
    Any and all offering of TPK stock will only be made through an offering document.
    The TPK authority believe offerees and purchasers of said stock will not receive the protection of securities laws with respect to any offering or sale of TPK stock.
    The Authority’s bylaws and rules severely restrict transfers or sale of any stock..let the IPO begin


  12. Posted by MJ on January 23, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    Sounds like a comedy routine to me


  13. Posted by skip3house on January 23, 2017 at 9:24 pm



  14. Posted by Eric on January 23, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    I remember listening to Jon Corzine regarding the NJ Turnpike and the Parkway proposals at one of his meetings. I actually spoke to Mr. Paul Mulshine who was in attendance.
    Many year ago, back in the 1980s or earlier, I used to purchase NJ Turnpike bonds, due to their tax free status, but would never dare purchase them any more. I do believe that Jon Corzine was well intended. I know that many do not care for him, but I believe he has a big heart. I actually like the guy. He cared and he tried. As former Governor Tom Kean had said, no one was on board with his, meaning Jon Corziine’s, proposal re. the parkway and the turnpike so it was doomed to fail.


    • Posted by bpaterson on January 25, 2017 at 2:16 pm

      eric-i prettymuch agree with you on corzines turnpike sale. I have been saying for years as a resolution to the pension underfunding: sell the turnpike take the money, put it in the pension pool. Remove all the state level elected politicians past and present. Then the citizenry can call it even. Take whatever is in the pot and re-configure all the pension obligations moving forward. NJ will never resolve the huge pension hole, so this is the least we can do for the career public employees. Unwittingly (or knowingly?), they got burnt by signing onto the corrupted political-boss system of politics in this state.


  15. Definitely, an interesting to see what will be done with pension reform!


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