NJ Pension Debt – Pick Your Number

nj101.5 reported on New Jersey’s long-term debt based on the annual Treasury Department debt report as of June 30, 2016 made public Friday with some telling observations:

The pension liability isn’t the number the state uses to decide how much to contribute – or rather, should contribute – to its pension funds.

The “unfunded actuarial accrued liability” for the state-administered pension funds is $49 billion. To help repay that, plus make the current payment, the state should put in a little over $5 billion in the upcoming fiscal year. Instead it plans to put in $2.5 billion.

The numbers look even more daunting if alternate accounting and actuarial methods are used.

The debt report discloses those in supplemental information at the back of the publication, because they’re not required in official financial disclosures and don’t impact state budget decisions.

Those analyses peg the liabilities as high as $136 billion for pensions and $68 billion for health benefits.

Just one problem here.

Those pension liability numbers are from the July 1, 2015 GASB reports which were released last April.

Though the next page has another set of GASB liabilities:

Two columns both titled ‘Plan Net Pension Liability’ with two different totals – $135,787.2 vs. $113,125.40 – and for one plan (Judicial Retirement System) the GASB 68 number ($669.2) is somehow higher than the GASB 67 number ($666.2). Then on page 11 of the report under Non-Bonded Obligations we have $93,195,876 for ‘Net Pension Liability’:

If anyone has a reasonable explanation for the differences please comment.

Also included in the Supplemental section is this chart chronicling the unfunded liability for ‘funding’ purposes over the years of the Christie administration:


All over a period of bragging about record contributions.

One last excerpt is a chart on those 1997 Pension Obligation Bonds:

6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Anonymous on March 14, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    And at full pensionable compensation calculation, time to recalculate PFRS unfunded liability.



  2. Posted by MJ on March 15, 2017 at 7:04 am

    Maybe they could try and do what AC is trying to do, cut back on police and fire salaries, benefits. sick time, pay outs and have the employees pay much more towards healthcare. It is interesting and scary at the same time to see the increase in liabilities from 2009 to 2016……….I’m wondering how that is even possible


  3. Posted by Anonymous on March 15, 2017 at 8:37 am

    This is the beginning of how the special special interests will maintain the status quo. Any State legislation mandating local employers contributions for PFRS should be replaced.



  4. […] those mini-contributions. Replacing the $152 billion valuation liability amount with even the July 1, 2015 GASB68 amount of $217 billion reduces that NJ funded percentage to […]


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