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.