How a Benefits Bill Becomes Law in New Jersey

What started as a housekeeping bill to correct a perceived inequity:

was amended to result in unintended (?) consequences.

The first thing you need to know is that under current law, New Jersey state troopers who achieve 25 years of service have to pay up to 35 percent of their health care premiums in retirement. Here is the story on those who don’t get to 25 years.

According to their handbook the State Police Retirement System has this provision:

with these benefits:

You may notice that troopers are eligible for a pension equal to 50 percent of their final compensation after 20 years of service but don’t qualify for anything more (other than what comes from higher salaries) until they hit 25 years of service, when they are eligible for a 65 percent pension. That creates an incentive for troopers who know they won’t be able to achieve 25 years of service before the mandatory retirement age to leave the force after 20 years. The promise of free medical benefits in retirement was designed to prevent those officers from leaving the force early.

The arrangement was disrupted earlier this year when the state Treasury conducted an internal review and changed its interpretation of which troopers have to contribute to the cost of their health care coverage in retirement. “By law, [State Police Retirement System] retirees have been required to contribute to their health premiums since [Chapter 78] was enacted,” Treasury spokesman Willem Rijksen said last week in a statement, referring to the 2011 pension and health benefits reforms. “Following a routine internal periodic review, a couple dozen SPRS members were identified as not making the correct premium contribution.”  A few retired troopers previously excluded from paying toward their premiums subsequently got letters from the state telling them they would have to make contributions starting Nov. 1.

The legislation, S-3614, was originally written to apply to that small subset of retired state troopers who have more than 20 years of service but less than 25 years when they reach the state police’s mandatory retirement age of 55. Sen. Paul Sarlo, D-Wood-Ridge, said during a committee hearing on the bill this month that it was written with about 30 current retirees in mind.

But a version of the bill that has been passed by the Senate and approved by an Assembly committee reads as if it gives free health care coverage to many more retirees at greater cost to the state.

Possibly the most surprising aspect of this story is that OLS can’t put a number on the cost. It would seem pretty straightforward: whatever retired state troopers are paying now for medical benefits.

 

81 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by marbs on December 27, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    So to me it (the Amendment) sounds like any trooper who retires at the mandatory age of 55 and has over 20 years in the retirement system gets his healthcare premiums paid. Sound like an incentive to stay until age 55.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Anonymous on December 27, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    Or could it be an early retirement incentive?

    Reply

  3. Posted by skip3house on December 27, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    We need in this country ‘Medicare for all’ as in about all other advanced countries on this Earth. .. Imagine not having to bother with these details over trivial lengths of service, age, and so on….?
    We would all get the same coverage, best our economy will provide….regardless of political abuses as now.
    Take away that power (of deciding who gets what) from politicians and let them just handle ‘for the common good’.

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on December 27, 2017 at 7:22 pm

      I agree but good luck with that! IMI, IF the Dems did Obamacare right it would have been a single payer. And IF it was the GOP probably would have repealed it.

      Reply

    • Posted by stanley on December 30, 2017 at 12:51 pm

      Medicare for all? That would probably go a long way toward solving the pension troubles. Have you ever been to the DMV for plates or licenses. Modern MDs already spend over half of their time doing paperwork and woe be to him who puts in an incorrect code. Medicare for all on the Venezuela Chavez/Maduro plan.

      Catastrophic afflictions that only strike a few are the only insurable health problems. (An insurable event is something that can strike many but in fact only strikes a few.) Any thing else should be funded out of pocket. If growing up and managing your life is optional and not required, we will devolve into a very Hobbesian life. Nasty, brutish and short.

      Reply

  4. Posted by Tough Love on December 27, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    I’d bet that there are MANY SPRS Retirees who retired BELOW age 55 (which would clearly NOT be covered by the above amendment).

    So, not only have the NJ’s Taxpayers been screwed (by the significant broadening of the original bill) by our self-interested/in-the-Union’s-pock Legislators, but you can be sure that the 25year/below-age-55 SPRS retirees will be screening “me too” very soon.
    *****************************

    ANYTHING granted someone who is already retired is nothing but a “GIFT”, and our Legislators should NOT be allowed to GIFT Taxpayer-money as they please.

    Reply

  5. Posted by Tough Love on December 27, 2017 at 9:01 pm

    How does one identify the miserable, taxpayer-betraying, Union-ass-kissing assho** who recommended the amendment to the initial bill ?

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on December 28, 2017 at 10:51 am

      And you identify yourself!

      Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on December 28, 2017 at 2:41 pm

        How would my identity change my (and every other NJ Taxpayers’s) right to know WHO these Taxpayer-betraying/Union-ass-kissing asshol** are …….. benefiting the “moochers” (you likely being one of them)?

        Reply

    • Posted by George on December 28, 2017 at 3:42 pm

      Interesting article. When returns are low the Dutch stopped COLA adjustments.

      “Yes, the majority of the state defined-benefit systems in the U.S., if they would have to apply our regulatory rules, they would be seriously underfunded. It’s very hard to invest your way out of that, so they do need to do something.”

      Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on December 28, 2017 at 4:50 pm

        The article ALSO pointed out:

        (1) they switched from basing the pension on final year wages to lifetime average wages …… with no indication that it didn’t apply to everyone

        (2) earning over $ 100K Euro are not counted as pensionable wages

        (3) COLAs can be and HAVE BEEN suspended when financial circumstances show the need to do so

        (4) retiree pensions can be and HAVE BEEN reduced when financial circumstances show the need to do so

        The bottom line is (A) MUCH less generous pensions, and (B) the flexibility to reduce both accruals and the pensions themselves if things (e.g., investment returns) go bad.

        America’s State & Local Pension Plans should do no less, and America’s Private Sector Taxpayers are being financially “mugged” by the insatiably GREEDY Public Sector Unions/workers and our Elected Official “enablers” who (in exchange for BRIBES disguised as Union campaign contributions) have granted these ludicrously excessive pensions & benefits.

        Reply

        • Posted by George on December 29, 2017 at 10:36 am

          America’s Private Sector Taxpayers are being financially “mugged”

          In the year 2000 looking forward it might have seemed like a peaceful and prosperous nation might have been able to afford those benefits. It is really the post 9 11 foreign policy priorities that broke the bank and is making it impossible to finance the pension crisis in a civilized way. So it is really everyone who is being mugged. Since 9 11 many many trillions have disappeared that would have solved the pension, defered maintenace ect crisis.

          Reply

          • Posted by Tough Love on December 29, 2017 at 11:23 am

            Few thoughts…

            (1) Quoting …. “been able to afford those benefits”.

            Even IF we could have afforded them via the continuation of an unprecedented stock marker run-up (from 1981-1999) why SHOULD taxpayers pay for all but the 10% to 20% of Total Public Sector Pension Plan Costs actually paid for by the workers (including the investment returns thereon) when those Public Sector pensions are ROUTINELY 3 to 6 times more generous than those of comparably situated Private Sector workers? Do we no have better (and FAR more appropriate) uses for such gains (than unnecessarily and unjustly enriching our Public Sector workers) such as increases care for the sick and poor-elderly, infrastructure repair and maintenance, improved education, retraining of those in declining industries, etc., etc., etc. ? Or heavens, REDUCING tax rates or reducing the nation debt.

            (2) Yes, we indeed Americas foreign policy (and wars) wasted a great deal of money wasted a HUGE amount of money, but even if not wasted we can’t get past what I pointed out in (1) above.

            (3) We (Private Sector taxpayers) are indeed being financially “mugged” by ……. as stated in (1) above ….. being responsible to pay for 80% to 90% of the Total cost of Public Sector pension ROUTINELY 3 to 6 times more generous than what we typically get. AND, for (Public Sector workers) free or heavily subsidized retiree healthcare almost unheard of in Corporate-sponsored Private Sector employment today.

  6. Posted by Patrick Whalin on December 28, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    I agree with TL (though I am in the extreme OPPOSITE position). As a retired state worker with 30 years of credited pension payments, and now with two years of retirment under my belt, I have received in pension payments the total amount I have contributed over those 30 years. The rest is “gravy”.

    I am not a stupid man. It is mathematically impossible to sustain these benefits. We must make a change. In order to secure MY benefits, I agree with a reduction in Plantinum health care coverage to Gold or even Silver. I agree also to a 10% reduction in CURRENT pension payments as well as 10% increase in current contributions from those still working. I also believe the DB plan should be immediately frozen as of 12/31/17. EVERYONE and EVERY CONTRIBUTION should be 401K style cafeteria plans. Prior service will be honored, only.

    I am only sure of one thing… if I hope to continue collecting my wonderful pension for the next 30 years or so (I hope), then changes must be made. Ponzi scheme no more….

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on December 28, 2017 at 9:39 pm

      Wow, that’s progress, just one question……… if everyone were to be moved to 401K Plans (with current DB Plans frozen), are you suggesting that the employees moved to the 401K Plans should continue to contribute to the DB Plan?

      Assuredly such actives would loudly protest, but there is a basis for at least some continued contributions, that being that their PAST service accruals were excessive and their contribution toward those Past service accruals a “pittance”.

      Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on December 29, 2017 at 1:38 pm

        BTW if there’s a sliver of truth in anything Patrick is saying than I assume he’s ‘grandfathering’ at least vested actives so they would continue contributing into the DBP.

        Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on December 29, 2017 at 2:01 pm

      I to am sure of something, there’s no Patrick whalin retired from a dpb in NJ and therefore anything else you speed is fake news!

      Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on December 29, 2017 at 2:49 pm

        I too found no Patrick Whalin in a database of NJ retirees. Perhaps he is as he describes but using a alias for privacy.

        Reply

        • Posted by Anonymous on December 29, 2017 at 3:44 pm

          I know this is a NJ blog but nowhere does he say he’s from NJ …

          Reply

          • Posted by Anonymous on December 29, 2017 at 3:53 pm

            Ok I’ll give you that but he does (implied NJ) talk about switching from platinum to gold or silver healthcare and a 10% base allowance reduction.Union’s need to hire him (again assumed) as their negotiator – LOL!
            IF he’s not a retired NJ PW maybe he should be suggesting changes for the state he’s retired from?

          • Posted by Anonymous on December 29, 2017 at 4:59 pm

            I got this, Patrick must be retired from a State that’s paid their bills – including their employer pension contributions! He’s just generally concerned about NJ, so nice to know people still care.

        • Posted by Patrick Whalin on December 29, 2017 at 8:34 pm

          I don’t have anything to hide. I worked for the Office of Legislative Services and the State Auditor’s Office for over 30 years. I retired on January 1st of 2016. Update your database of retirees and you will find me there, sadly.

          Reply

          • Posted by Tough Love on December 29, 2017 at 9:48 pm

            Yup, just found you here … http://php.app.com/agent/governmentretirees/search

            Just for clarification, were you suggesting a hard freeze of the DB pensions for ALL current workers?

            Also, if yes, were you suggesting that some or all should continue to contribute to the DB Plans ?

          • Posted by Tough Love on December 29, 2017 at 10:14 pm

            The one thing that stands out re your pension, is that given you retired at age 53 your early retirement reduction (form the otherwise calculated formula pension) was likely only about 5%, while in MOST Private Sector DB Plans, retiring at age 53 would likely include a reduction of 40% or more.

            That’s one of main drivers of why I say NJ’s Public Sector Plans are TYPICALLY 2 to 4 times greater in value upon retirement than those of comparably-situated Private Sector workers (3 to 6 times if COLA are reinstated), and also why you are CORRECT when you stated earlier that ….

            “It is mathematically impossible to sustain these benefits.”

          • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on December 30, 2017 at 4:34 am

            Stop me if you’ve heard this before. You can not compare pensions outside the context of total compensation.

            And

            “It is mathematically impossible to sustain these benefits.”

            Because. ..

            IF YOU DON’T PAY THE BILLS, THE DEBT GETS LARGER

          • Posted by Tough Love on December 30, 2017 at 12:47 pm

            SMH,

            Yes, you have, and I have often reminded you that even on a Total Compensation” basis (wages + pensions + benefits), on average with all Public Sector workers taken together (which is the CORRECT way to look at it to determine the financial impact upon taxpayers), there is a VERY significant Public Sector Total Compensation ADVANTAGE ….. per the AEI Study study, 23%-of-pay (33% if the incremental value of greater job security in the Public Sector is included) and assuredly much greater than that if the study had not excluded Safety workers, with MUCH greater than average wages, pensions, and benefits.
            *******************

            Your CAPS statement should be changed to……….

            Don’t promises ludicrously excessive Public Sector pensions (AND benefits) and the bill would be a GREAT DEAL lower.

          • Posted by Tough Love on December 30, 2017 at 1:34 pm

            For those who assign little weight to the incremental value of greater job security in the Public Sector, you should read the following article. Essentially, an audit of CALTRANS (the California agency responsible for much of it’s infrastructure) concluded that the agency has 3,500 MORE Architects and Engineers than it really needs. CALTRANS response ……. virtually nothing (even after on of those professionals was found to have spend half of almost every day playing golf).

            What Private Sector company could operate like this …. and not go bankrupt ?

            https://www.ocregister.com/2016/06/08/californias-version-of-highway-robbery/

  7. Posted by dentss dunnigan on December 30, 2017 at 10:23 am

    In 2001, Gov. Donald DiFrancesco, a Republican, and the Republican-controlled Legislature raised pension benefits 9 percent even to current retirees and lowered the retirement age to 55, greatly increasing the future burden on the system without ever putting aside any extra monies from the state or it’s employees to cover this increase …

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on December 30, 2017 at 10:38 am

      All true AND that’s when the great decline of employer contributions started!

      But back to TL’s reply to Patrick, how about we try a ‘sort of’ early retirement gimmick when implementing the P&B Commission. Active members who are retirement eligible as of the legislation effective date have the following one time option; 1) switch to a DCP and continue working indefinitely OR 2) choose to stay in the DBP BUT for a short set time period (say 1 to 2 years max) at which time they are automatically retired.

      Reply

  8. “The last time New Jersey paid its full pension payment was 1996. Since then, payments have fallen either well short or been non-existent.”

    http://pension360.org/chart-a-history-of-new-jerseys-pension-payments/
    ===========================================================
    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.)

    DON’T PAY THE BILLS, THE DEBT GETS LARGER

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on December 30, 2017 at 1:04 pm

      SMH,

      I see that you are going to close out the year with the same misleading BS that has been your hallmark all year long.

      As I have stated (very accurately) many times …………

      The calculated amount of pension contribution required to fully find a DB Plan is A FUNCTION OF (and varies in direct proportion to) the generosity of the underlying pension.

      Example: Right now, NJ Police pensions are ROUTINELY 4+ times more generous in value upon retirement than those granted Private Sector workers who retire at the SAME age with the SAME wages, and with the SAME years of service ….. and all while (considering the education, skills, and knowledge levels) they likely make MORE (not less) in cash wages alone, thereby not justifying ANY greater pensions or benefits. IF they received pensions EQUAL in value to those granted comparably situated Private Sector workers, the “BILL” would be less than 1/4 of what it is today.

      And yes, it wouldn’t be quite as radical for non-safety Public Sector workers, with less-generous pensions (but still MUCH more generous than those typically granted their Private Sector counterparts). For them, the “BILL” would be less than 50% of what it is today.
      ******************************

      “Don’t promise ludicrously excessive Public Sector pensions (AND benefits) and the bill would be a GREAT DEAL lower.”

      Reply

  9. Posted by dentss dunnigan on December 30, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    At the core of the problem is a growing difference between the amount of money public sector workers are paying into pension funds and the amount of money that they are receiving in benefits. In stark contrast to private sector retirement plans, employee contributions to public sector pension funds can be as little as 3% for the first 10 years of work and nothing after, while benefits are often as much as 70% of their ending salary, for life…..http://thesoundingline.com/accounting-for-reality-pension-funds-are-in-big-trouble/

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on December 30, 2017 at 1:08 pm

      It very simply comes down to ludicrously excessive (by every and any reasonable metric) Public Sector pensions & benefits………… the EE vs ER cost-split being a FAR secondary issue.

      Reply

      • Posted by SMH on December 30, 2017 at 2:28 pm

        “ludicrously excessive” is excessively ludicrous, as in the Brietbart “78% more” claim.

        Thanks to transparency laws, we all know how much Patrick Whalin earned, and how much his pension will be. Do we know the same for the average private sector equivalent?

        Rhetorical question. We do not.

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on December 30, 2017 at 2:43 pm

          Yes, we know what Mr. Whalin earned and what is his pension. Certainly not very large in DOLLARS, but the PROPER comparison is not in dollars but an answer to the question …….. what would his pension likely be if he had the SAME job in the Private Sector. And WITHOUT question (especially given his retirement at age 53 with a VERY small early retirement adjustment) his pension would have been LESS THAN HALF of what he is now getting from NJ.

          Reply

          • Posted by SMH on December 30, 2017 at 4:13 pm

            ” his pension would have been LESS THAN HALF of what he is now getting from NJ.”

            the PROPER comparison is an answer to the question ……..

            Not only what the pension of the private worker, but the wages. Were the higher wages enough, or more than enough, to offset the higher NJ pension?

            Do you have that data? Actual recent data, not assumptions.

            If not, your whole premise is excessively ludicrous.

          • Posted by Tough Love on December 30, 2017 at 5:21 pm

            SMH,

            Good question. We don’t know if his “wages” alone are more or less than what a comparably situated auditor in the Private Sector would earn, taking into account his experience, education, skills, knowledge, credentials, etc.

            The only thing I can determine (from a Google search which brings up many NJ OLS Audit reports identifying the entire Audit Staff) is that Mr. Whalin shows none of the many credentials that follow most other OLS auditor’s names (no kidding on the 1-st one, CEH. It came directly from tan OLS Audit Report. Also wondered what a CPT does):

            CEH – Certified Ethical Hacker
            CFE – Certified Fraud Examiner
            CGAP – Certified Government Auditing Professional
            CGFM – Certified Government Financial Manager
            CIA – Certified Internal Auditor
            CISA – Certified Information Systems Auditor
            CMFO – Certified Municipal Finance Officer
            CPA – Certified Public Accountant
            CPT – Certified Penetration Tester
            MAccy – Master of Accountancy
            MBA – Master of Business Administration
            PSA – Public School Accountant

            Given that we have nothing else to go by, if his wages were “average” (relative to those of comparable Private Sector workers) per the AEI Study, his wages are 4%-of-pay below those of his Private Sector counterpart, but his total Compensation (wages + pensions + benefits) is greater by 23%-of-pay (33 % including the greater Public Sector job security).

          • Posted by SMH on December 31, 2017 at 2:08 pm

            Sorry, no cigar. I don’t think you have any idea how complex these compensation studies are. Or even what the word “average” means.

            The econometric studies don’t just compare job titles, they use algorithms …and… logarithms.

            “Previous studies, including our own, used the natural log of employee wages as the dependent variable in a wage regression, a technique that has been utilized for decades and is used in most of the other pay studies discussed here. However, the CBO noted that, because the distribution of wages is more compressed in the public than the private sector, this approach can lead to distorted results.” (Biggs)

            And that is after they decide which of several data sets to use; none of which were designed for the purpose of public/private comparison. Among other assumptions which are by no means universally agreed upon.

            “My point is not that 2 percent is “wrong” and 14 percent is “right,” but rather that there is a range of reasonable answers found in studies of federal salaries and the CBO’s result is likely toward the lower end of that range.” (Biggs)

            These are among the reasons I have always strongly recommended Biggs and Richwine 2014 study.

            1) Discussion of methodology… It’s not cut and dried. There is a lot of room for error and interpretation.

            B) All “human capital” studies agree; lower educated/unskilled public workers earn more in total compensation than equivalent private sector workers. Highly educated/professional public workers earn much less (even with so-called “exorbitant” pensions and benefits) than their private sector peers. Between these two extremes, by definition, is a cohort which is roughly equal in total compensation.
            (In national data, Biggs says “Total compensation for bachelor’s degree holders is about even with private sector levels.”)

            The only real disarguement is where the “average” is. And for us, where does Mr. Whalin fall on that continuum. The Goldilocks question. Is his total compensation too much? Too little? Or “just right”? His pension is almost certainly higher than a “typical” or “average” private worker, but very likely balanced out by lower pay.

          • Posted by Patrick Whalin on December 31, 2017 at 7:11 pm

            Certainly Correct – NOT LARGE AT ALL. But, due to the way taxes work, my take-home pay in retirement is the same as it was when I was working 35 hours a week. Not too bad. And of course, I did manage to save for my retirement outside of the pension system.

    • Posted by Anonymous on December 30, 2017 at 1:41 pm

      DD you seem to always leave out key elements in your comments, ie DEFERRED COMPENSATION!

      Reply

      • Posted by Patrick Whalin on December 31, 2017 at 11:12 am

        When I first came to work for the state having a bachelor’s degree in accounting is all that was required. There was no need to have advamced credentials in order to ascend to the ranks of management.

        Over the years, however, the number of candidates with advanced degrees (often right out of college; MBA, CPA, etc..) sored. It became very competitive for the new employees to get the jobs. That was not the case for me. By the time I was a Principal auditor and leading a team, most of my subordinates all had advanced degrees.

        A criticism I will make of the public sector workforce environment is there is a lack of “competition” in the promotion process. Just “do your time and you’re next in line to be promoted” philosophy. Thus, no incentive to achieve. In private sector a person might get canned for not producing. No so with the State. Sure, they may put you behind a desk in a distant building with nothing to do, but you stay on the payroll indefinitely.

        Reply

        • It’s called bureaucracy, and I’d bet it happens in private industry a lot more than you think.

          http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2016/07/07/Apathetic-Workers-State-and-Local-Government-Are-Costing-Taxpayers-Billions

          Bottom line…

          “More broadly, employee disengagement across the economy costs the U.S. economy roughly $500 billion a year, which suggests that the problem is just as prevalent — or more so — within the private sector.”

          “…the problem is just as prevalent — or more so — within the private sector.”

          Everyone talks about the difference between public and private employment, but the big dichotomy, in wages, benefits, job security, etc., is between small employers and large employers (which includes most governments).

          Reply

          • Posted by Tough Love on December 31, 2017 at 1:16 pm

            SMH,

            How come you left out the rest of the paragraph where your 1-st quote came from? Here it is:

            “But while private corporations and businesses are accountable to their investors, state and local government workers and officials are accountable to the taxpayers. And that carries with it an added obligation for government workers to excel at what they do.”

          • Posted by SMH on December 31, 2017 at 2:31 pm

            That is the “opinion” of Eric Pianin, a journalist.

            The opinion of SMH (AKA, SDouglas47), is in the comments section of the article…

            “We can all agree that “government work” is nowhere near perfect. Every second or third hopeful politician has the stated goal of getting rid of “waste, fraud, and abuse”.

            In this case, the grass always looks deader on the other side. But there is no magic line between the public and private sector. “Public sector workers”, for the most part, are not public sector workers. They are private sector workers moving from one job to another (average tenure four to eight years). Fewer than twenty percent of public workers are “career” (30 years or longer) about half of public sector workers don’t even stay long enough (usually five years) to vest in a pension. For those who do stay, average length of service for retirees is twenty years. For the other “average” twenty years of their careers, they are regular god fearin’, hard working, tax paying workers.

            People are pretty much the same wherever they go, as Gallup pointed out, with obvious ranges in abilities and attitudes. Bureaucracies are also very much alike, public or private. Waste, fraud, and abuse are a fact of life. Some control it better than others. The public “sector” has limits on how much it can spend and makes decisions accordingly. The private sector has a profit motive, and makes decisions accordingly,

            But…

            Profit is not the “only” motive and sometimes not even the primary motive in business and personnel decisions.

            “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

            POGO”

            ………………………….
            Also, as I have said before, if you think you are not paying, directly or indirectly, for “waste, fraud and abuse” (and apathy) in the private sector, I have a bridge I can sell you. (Some lanes may be intermittently closed for “study” reasons.

            SMH

    • Posted by SMH on December 30, 2017 at 2:06 pm

      Taps Coogan:

      “In stark contrast”? How much do private sector employees normally contribute to their DB pensions? Here I (almost) agree with Mr. Love: “the EE vs ER cost-split being a FAR secondary issue.”

      Taps Coogan, again:

      “Furthermore, it is questionable whether it is politically feasible to continue raising taxes on private sector workers in order to fund far more generous retirement benefits for far better paid public sector workers.”

      In support of “far better paid public sector workers”, he cites Brietbart…

      “Federal Workers Earn 78% More Than Private Sector Employees, Study Shows”

      I’ll say it… Fake news.

      Reply

      • Posted by SMH on December 30, 2017 at 2:10 pm

        ” 78% More Than Private Sector Employees” was even more than Andrew Biggs could stomach.

        SMH

        Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on December 30, 2017 at 2:47 pm

        Anybody who believes that Federal workers earn 78% more than COMPARABLE Private Sector workers (same job, same qualifications, as many hours worked, equally “productive”, etc.) is an imbecile.

        Reply

        • Posted by Anonymous on December 30, 2017 at 3:02 pm

          If you’ve heard this before don’t stop me, agree with it – NJ’s PW P&B’s should mirror that of the Fed’s resulting in SIGNIFICANT (your words) savings to taxpayers.

          Reply

          • Posted by Tough Love on December 30, 2017 at 4:32 pm

            The Federal Gov’t doesn’t pay the wages, pensions, or benefits of NJ’s Public Sector workers, NJ’s Taxpayers do (85% of whom work in the PRIVATE Sector), That being the case, the wages, pensions, and benefits granted NJ’s Public Sector workers should be near-EQUAL to those granted COMPARABLE Private Sector NEW JERSEY taxpayers.

          • Posted by Anonymous on December 30, 2017 at 5:12 pm

            Equal to not better than Federal PW!

          • Posted by Tough Love on December 30, 2017 at 5:24 pm

            No Anon, not better than that of comparable NEW JERSEY Private Sector workers …… who pay the wages, pensions, and benefits of NJ’s Public Sector workers.

          • Posted by Anonymous on December 30, 2017 at 6:23 pm

            Crank up the printing presses for the Military – Tin Hut!

          • Posted by Anonymous on December 30, 2017 at 6:28 pm

            BTW TL your self interest is more glaring than an SMD light bulb. Your position of not greater than a private sector worker is clear BUT your double talk back stepping blogging on why Federal DBP don’t fall into the same realm because of the printing presses is hogwash. Either it’s ALL PWs equal to private sector or your full of Federal self interest and/or BS!

          • Posted by SMH on December 30, 2017 at 6:30 pm

            Real, verifiable, recent empirical data.

            Do not “reform” pensions with anecdotal evidence, “opinions”, emotional pleas, political bias, or inflammatory rhetoric.

            (or repetitious “copy/paste” and CAPS LOCK.)

            And do not compare pensions outside the context of total compensation.

          • Posted by Anonymous on December 30, 2017 at 6:45 pm

            Or as TL likes to say when (rarely) short on words;
            yada yada yada

          • Posted by Tough Love on December 30, 2017 at 6:49 pm

            Anon, I DIDN’T say ….. “Federal DBP don’t fall into the same realm because of the printing presses”. I said that Federal Gov’t doesn’t pay the wages, pensions, and benefits of NJ’s Public Sector workers, and that BECAUSE NJ’s Taxpayers DO, it’s THOSE (NJ’s Taxpayers) to whom NJ’s Public Sector workers should be compared.

          • Posted by Anonymous on December 30, 2017 at 7:29 pm

            Don’t play games with words. I’m not talking about this reply. I’m talking about other previous replies and no I’m not wasting my time finding them to copy and paste them here. (Hopefully) you know what you’ve previously stated?

          • Posted by Tough Love on December 30, 2017 at 8:05 pm

            Anon, So do you disagree with my logic, that ………………. BECAUSE NJ’s Taxpayers (not the Federal Gov’t) pay for NJ’s Public Sector worker wages/pensions/benefits, it’s NJ’s Taxpayers to whom NJ’s Public Sector workers should be compared.

          • Posted by Anonymous on December 30, 2017 at 9:35 pm

            Working with your logic I’ve come to this conclusion. NJ taxpayers are Federal taxpayers too and pay for Federal P&B’s.

            Furthermore, it’s not ‘State employees’ P&B’s, which are funded through GF revenues, that impact your local property taxes or State income tax. Based on your many previous posts implying your relatively modest means you must pay more in Federal, and Local property taxes than you do in taxes and fees that fund GF revenues? Yet you dismiss Federal P&Bs because of their ability to print money and it doesn’t impact you as directly (your words on previous posts here). Again, using your logic, ‘State employees’ P&B’s don’t impact you directly either. It’s ‘Local employees’ P&Bs ie PERS (Local), TPAF, and P&FRS via Local property taxes and State income tax.that impact you directly.

            Even so, you probably pay more in Federal taxes than you do in combined Local property taxes and State income tax. I’m not sure where that leaves your logic but I do know Local’s pension funds are better funded than the States’. Excluding TPAF, which the State mucked up just like PERS (State), SPRS, and JRS by not adequately contributing.

            Happy New Year, I’m starting early!

          • Posted by Tough Love on December 30, 2017 at 10:23 pm

            Sure, NJ taxpayers are Federal taxpayers too, but with 50 states, NJ taxpayers only pay for about 1/50 of Federal worker compensation. Other than the pittance contributed by NJ’s Public Sector workers toward their own pensions & benefits, it’s NEW JERSEY’s Taxpayers that pay ALL of the remainder.

            Quoting ……. “Furthermore, it’s not ‘State employees’ P&B’s, which are funded through GF revenues, that impact your local property taxes or State income tax. ”

            That makes no sense. If ‘State employees’ P&B’s are funded through GF revenues, and GF Revenues arise (in part) from State income tax (which I do pay), how does that NOT impact me ?

            Don’t know why you said I was of modest means ….. not rich, but certainly not poor. Somewhere in the middle.

            Quoting …………. “Again, using your logic, ‘State employees’ P&B’s don’t impact you directly either. .”

            I have know idea how you came to that conclusion……. see 3-rd paragraph above.

            Quoting ………… “Local’s pension funds are better funded than the States’.”

            Finally you stated something that is accurate, but you failed to go further, pointing out that even thought they are in “better” shape the the STATE’s Plans, if NJ’s LOCAL plans had to value their Plans using the SAME assumptions & methodology REQUIRED (by the US Gov’t) of Private Sector Plans, their funding ratios would be so LOW they they would be barred from granting any further accruals.

            And no, it’s not a matter of adequately contributing. As I corrected SMH, it really comes down to ………..

            “Don’t promises ludicrously excessive Public Sector pensions (AND benefits) and the bill would be a GREAT DEAL lower.”

          • Posted by Anonymous on December 31, 2017 at 8:27 am

            Guess you don’t know govt fund acctg GF IS NOT PTRF, do your homework before replying again. Also it’s true NJ is one of 50 States but we pay more than our fair share in Fed taxes besides I thought it was all about EQUAL not better than the private sector. Are you saying Fed P&B $ couldn’t be better spent elsewhere for the good of the Nation? Or is your special interest showing again?

          • Posted by Tough Love on December 31, 2017 at 1:25 pm

            I see zero justification for the total compensation of gov’t sector workers (Fed, State, County, Local) to to exceed that of comparably situated Private Sector workers ……. but there is no question that the HIGHLY excessive total compensation of NJ’s Public Sector workers (arising from their ludicrously excessive pensions and benefits) is far more visible and impacts me more directly.

          • Posted by Anonymous on December 31, 2017 at 2:12 pm

            BS you just a bug up your ass about NJ PWs for reason(s) only you know. Typically, most individuals pay more in Fed taxes than NJ State income tax and Local property tax combined. Unless there’s something extraordinary about their situation? So why don’t Fed taxes put a bee in your bonnet, self interest!

          • Posted by Tough Love on December 31, 2017 at 2:38 pm

            For the new year, I will only be responding to those who I believe have an IQ over 100 (about average) ….. certainly excludes you with all of your nonsense comments.

          • Posted by Anonymous on December 31, 2017 at 2:53 pm

            Thanks appreciate that but your instability goes well beyond PWs P&B’s! What did I state about Fed versus State & Local taxes was inaccurate? Don’t like to be called out on the carpet about your hypocritical position!

          • Posted by Tough Love on December 31, 2017 at 3:59 pm

            Anon,

            Do you think this Blog’s readers are stupid, and that it’s not obvious that your comments have one goal …….. deflect attention from the undeniable need to address the excessive Total Compensation now granted NJ”s Public Sector workers, arising from their now ludicrously excessive Public Sector pensions and benefits.

            If Federal workers are also overcompensated, that should be addressed as well, but it’s a SEPARATE issue, and they needn’t be looked at as ….. address BOTH (at the same time) or address NEITHER.

            Yes, the readers understand the mentality (and lengths they will go to protect their overstuffed pensions & benefits) of Public Sector “moochers”.

          • Posted by Anonymous on December 31, 2017 at 4:21 pm

            I guess that’s the way your pea brain comprehends it. Tic toc you got till midnight…. Which side of your mouth will we hear next?

          • Posted by SMH on December 31, 2017 at 5:56 pm

            Anonymous at 2:12 pm

            “BS you just a bug up your ass about NJ PWs for reason(s) only you know.”
            ==============================

            As I recall, the biggest bug has always been Police. Not just pensions, but salaries also. Apparently in the area around Mr. Love are some of the highest paid police in the nation.

            “I wanted to know Mrs. Smith who lives on Main Street.”

            http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/09/nj_police_salaries_rank_highes.html

            May be Mr. Love had a thing for Mrs. Smith and all the cops got in line first.
            ==============================
            Police and Fire. High pay, early retirement, and for many local governments, they are a large share of the workforce, therefor a very large share of the General Fund budgets.

            How much is a policeman worth? Pay or pension? I don’t know. It’s all relative.

            From a recent article by Mary Pat Campbell listing the pensions in an article…

            X’s 2016 pension was $126K

            Y’s was $110K,

            Z has pension of $104K for 32 years of service

            “I’m not quoting these to get snippy about the $100K club – after all, I make more money than that and I don’t think that these are necessarily excessive amounts.”

            http://stump.marypat.org/article/823/a-new-category-for-the-hall-of-shame-never-fully-funders

            Perhaps TL’s problem is he doesn’t make more money than that, and can’t stand that someone else does.

            SMH

          • Posted by Tough Love on December 31, 2017 at 6:17 pm

            SMH,

            “Perhaps” ?

            No, it’s exactly as I have stated all along. As a NJ taxpayer, I object to being responsible (via taxation) for the ludicrously excessive Public Sector pension & benefits (and yes, resulting in grossly excessive Total Compensation) granted NJ’s Public Sector workers.

          • Posted by Anonymous on December 31, 2017 at 6:20 pm

            SMH when it come to TL only their therapist knows for sure! I don’t usually make New Year’s resolution and I’m not starting now. Take care, Happy New Year and keep on blogging…..

          • Posted by Unanimous on December 31, 2017 at 8:21 pm

            So, are you saying you do make more than a NJ cop? And do you know Mrs. Smith on Main Street?

  10. Posted by Unanimous on December 31, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    I wonder what happened to Tim Alexander? Did Mr. Love drive off another one?

    This is why we can never have new friends. Is it that difficult to be at least civil?

    Wherever you are, Tim…

    ¡Feliz año nuevo!

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on December 31, 2017 at 9:27 pm

      Tim Alexander …. wanna-be “economist” with no apparent professional credentials … should pursue Preaching, clearly his true calling*. I REALLY suggest he contact Joel Osteen for an apprenticeship). He has offered nothing of substance in addressing the HUGE pension mess impacting Americas States & Cities beyond, as actuary as Mary Pat Campbell called his proposal …… DRAIN THE TREASURY.

      I still cannot fathom why Mr. Bury has been giving him a forum to post his nonsense.

      * Quoting from the beginning of Tim’s last post………..
      _______________________
      I have spent the past few days reading a great deal ………………

      In my other readings, comments on my writings and so on, I am impressed. I get many intelligent questions, comments, and new sources for consideration.
      ————————————–
      And the “Dear Gentile Reader” stuff is beyond pale………

      What a freekin nutcase.

      Reply

      • Posted by Boscoe on January 1, 2018 at 11:31 am

        Uh-oh. TRIGGER WARNING! “Dear Gentile Reader.” Subliminal thought process at work? Enjoy 2018 everyone….

        Reply

  11. […] was a snow day but the agenda for Monday voting not only includes A5322 but also A5316 (though an amendment that expanded the scope of the benefits provided seems to have been […]

    Reply

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