Worst Funded State Retirement System

Kentucky just released a report claiming that dubious distinction:
.

Not so fast….

The latest New Jersey Treasurer’s Report devoted 22 of 119 pages to the pension system including this chart on paged I-63:

Meaning a virtual tie with Kentucky but then we have these intangibles (as excerpted from the Treasurer’s report):

The amount that the State will contribute to its Pension Plans over the next several fiscal years is subject to a number of factors that may change in the near future….The policy and legal framework for the levels of the State’s contribution to its Pension Plans for the next several fiscal years remains uncertain. (page I-48)

The actual amounts that the State contributes to the Pension Plans each fiscal year are subject to annual appropriation by the State Legislature and to actions by the Governor. The amounts that the State contributes to the Pension Plans can be and, since Fiscal Year 2004, have been less than the actuarially recommended contribution rates. (page I-49)

State law provides that the retirement benefits of the Pension Plans are not subject to negotiations between the State and other public employers and the employee members of the Pension Plans. (page I-51)

Since the establishment of the Benefit Enhancement Fund, no amounts have been credited to the Fund other than investment earnings. (page I-52)

And this chart from page I-58 showing The Christie administration over seven years shorting the plan by $20.427 billion:

20 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by boscoe on May 24, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    We’re number 1!!!! Er, we’re number 50!!!!

    Reply

  2. Posted by bpaterson on May 24, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    the 4 to 5% raises given in the public sector last decade was the wreench in the works that killed the pers. The politicians knew that 10 years of 4% raises not only increased the labor cost burden of 40%+, but also directly increased the pension burden 40%+.. Since they kicked the can down the road by underfunding and found all the same idiots (them) just get voted in every year, who cared? This financial fiasco needs all parties to go back 15 years and do some kind of reset. We are number 50 in underfunding yet #1 in highest taxation in the nation. This tells you the system is broken.

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on May 24, 2017 at 2:41 pm

      Oh come on man they never made the contributions wake up and smell the coffee

      Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on May 24, 2017 at 6:28 pm

      Sure the excessive raises made it worst, but the ROOT CAUSE of the problem (which REMAINS TODAY) is the excessively generous DB “formulas” and “provisions” (such as very young retirement ages at which UNREDUCED pensions can be collected, and COLAs …. until further increases were suspended in 2011) …………. FAR FAR richer than even the best Private Sector retirement Plans.

      The “solution”, is to FREEZE these pensions for the future service of all CURRENT NJ workers, and replace them for future service with SS benefits (for those who don’t already participate) and a 401K 3%-of-pay “match” just as is typical in Private Sector employment.

      EQUAL, but NOT better …… on the Taxpayers’ dime.

      Reply

  3. Posted by Garden State Woes on May 24, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    Kentucky is anomalous as the only red state with a severely underfunded pension system.

    I would love to hear from an expert on Kentucky on this, but I wonder if this is connected to Kentucky’s being one of the only red states that had compulsory public sector union membership.

    Kentucky went right-to-work a few months ago, but prior to that they were the only “union security” state in the South.

    Reply

  4. Posted by Anonymous on May 24, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    IF we want to REALLY understand what got us here we’d contrast/compare the best 5 funded states to compare their P&B and employer contributions as well as investment choices with NJ’s. But that doesn’t matter now and no one REALLY cares about the whole truth.

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on May 24, 2017 at 6:36 pm

      No, if you want to see the ROOT CAUSE…….. compare Public Sector pensions and benefits to those typically granted Private Sector workers.

      RICH pension & benefits are VERY VERY costly, and hence VERY VERY difficult to fully fund.

      Although often mentioned, the “lack of full funding” is not the CAUSE of the pension/benefit mess we are in today, but the CONSEQUENCE of the true Root Cause …. grossly excessive pension/benefit generosity.

      Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on May 24, 2017 at 6:59 pm

        Only half true b/c other States have much better funding ratios, based on varying methodologies which are always the subject of controversy. You deflect when comparing private to public but claim I deflect when mentioning Fed and military DB pensions. There’s is more relevance to comparing public worker’s DB pensions at ALL levels of government then there is comparing State of NJ DB pensions to the private sector.

        Reply

        • Posted by Anonymous on May 24, 2017 at 8:16 pm

          Quoting ……

          “Only half true b/c other States have much better funding ratios”

          No, that just means that their Unions have been more successful in getting their Elected Officials to PUNISH their Taxpayers withj excessive taxes to fund excessive pension & benefits.

          And again, NO ….. comparing State of NJ DB pensions to the private sector Pension & benefits is EXACTLY what should be done..

          Reply

    • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on May 28, 2017 at 11:58 am

      Anonymous on May 24, 2017 at 5:13 pm

      “IF we want to REALLY understand what got us here we’d contrast/compare the best 5 funded states to compare their P&B and employer contributions…”

      Thanks to that other Anonymous… (or maybe the same?)

       Anonymous on May 27, 2017 at 5:15 pm

      Don’t be blue, this state is pure red…..

      http://www.thestate.com/news/politics-government/article152821224.html
      …………………………………………
      South Carolina, according to Biggs; state workers earn 15% less in wages, and with pensions and benefits, only three percent more in total compensation than the private sector and they are still less than forty percent funded?

       the ROOT CAUSE of their underfunding…

      Wat for it…

      “DON’T PAY THE BILLS, THE DEBT GETS LARGER”
      ………………………………………
      by meep

      24 February 2016, 22:00

      I’ll give it away at the beginning: they’re in trouble because they’re not making the “required” contributions to the pensions.

      Yes, there are all sorts of other reasons as well, such as spiking, early retirements, sluggish payroll growth, optimistic valuation assumptions, etc.

      But ultimately the reason the pensions are so little funded is because the state didn’t put in enough funds.

      And they knew it.

      They knew it for years.

      It’s not because of investment fees, though those should be more transparent. It’s not because of part-time board directors who get a lifetime pension for very little work, though that doesn’t help. (I’ll address why these aren’t significant problems in a later post.)

      Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on May 28, 2017 at 1:06 pm

        Just MORE self-interested BS………..

        Think about it, right now most Public Sector Pensions are between 2 and 6 times “greater in value” upon retirement than those received by comparably situated Private Sector workers, and virtually ALL of them are materially underfunded.

        Now ……. if we DOUBLED this already ludicrously excessive pension generosity to 4 to 10 times greater, wouldn’t we have FAR GREATER underfunding (because they are now even MORE unaffordable), and wouldn’t we be hearing the SAME BS from the like of SMD ……….. that it’s due to a lack of full-funding.

        Of course that position is all BS. The ROOT CAUSE always HAS BEEN, is NOW, and (until we reduce these Plans’ generosity VERY VERY VERY materially) always WILL BE their grossly excessive pension generosity.

        Reply

  5. Posted by Anonymous on May 25, 2017 at 9:36 am

    With Trump proposing federal workers pensions to
    be cut by more than $4 billion in the coming year and by nearly $63 billion over the coming decade. Why can’t NJ make some type of cuts as well ….

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on May 25, 2017 at 9:54 am

      Because NJ’s self-interested/in-the-Unions’-pocket Elected Officials are BOUGHT by the Public Sector Union with BRIBES disguised as campaign contributions and get-out-the-vote election support.

      And they want that money & re-election support to keep flowing.

      Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on May 25, 2017 at 11:05 am

      http://www.click2houston.com/news/houston-pension-reform-plan-passes-texas-house-awaits-governors-signature-to-become-law

      BTW NJ already suspended COLAs and increased minimum retirement age with the 2011 reform legislation…..Feds are playing catch-up to NJ and with Fed pension benefits on a pay as you go basis it’s tax/print and spend.

      Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on May 25, 2017 at 11:14 am

        I’ve already stated this position before; ALL US public workers DB P&B should be no greater than those granted at the Federal level. Regional differences in cost of living adjusted for active member’s salary.

        Reply

        • Posted by Anonymous on May 25, 2017 at 12:31 pm

          Quoting …..

          “ALL US public workers DB P&B should be no greater than those granted at the Federal level”

          No. ALL US public workers DB P&B should be no greater than those typically granted similarly situated PRIVATE Sector workers ….. which today, is rarely more than the employer’s 6.4%-of-pay contribution to Social Security on the worker’s behalf, plus a 3% of pay contribution into a 401K Plan.

          Even the WORST Public Sector Plans are MULTIPLES more generous.

          EQUAL, but NOT better ……… on the Taxpayers’ dime.

          Reply

          • Posted by Anonymous on May 25, 2017 at 3:42 pm

            It’s a process but one can usually bread crumb the truth and ultimate goal out of individuals…..and while I encourage and agree with reforms I understand the hesitation b/c it’ll never end. Most individuals don’t/won’t commit suicide but if you’re murdered not much you can do.

      • Posted by Anonymous on May 25, 2017 at 12:13 pm

        QWuoting …………

        “Feds are playing catch-up to NJ ”

        Baloney. The FERS DB Plan has a per-year-of-service “formula-factor” of 1% vs NJ’s 1.8% to 2.5%.

        The NJ Plan, even AFTER the 2011 changes (applicable ONLY to new workers) is MUCH more generous than the Fed Plan.

        Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on May 25, 2017 at 11:10 am

      The Trump budget died on the way to the house, it will never be enacted.

      Reply

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