NJ Politics Insider Coverage

You do not become the state in the worst fiscal condition in the nation by accident. You need to have an active political class interested solely in enriching themselves at the expense of the general public where real problems fester since the only solutions that see the light of day are those that do not infringe in any manner on the welfare of these puppet masters and their acolytes.

Ever since I have been following government in this state the workings of this shadow group have been covered up by media outlets but recently two websites starting reporting on them. David Wildstein has returned to his first love with newjerseyglobe and Max Pizzaro founded insidernj which covers issues if one party pushes it as a talking point – which the Republicans here decided to do with the the Murphy/Muoio interest rate hike:

NJGOP Chairman Doug Steinhardt and Senator Kristin Corrado are moving against the nomination of Acting Treasurer Liz Muoio, urging Senators to nix Governor Murphy’s choice to head up the state Treasury in light of this week’s announcement of a change in the assumed rate or return, a move decried by GOP lawmakers, which Moody’s viewed as a credit negative. Steinhardt and Corrado called it a ‘short-sighted scheme’ and characterized it as ‘sticking another dagger in the dying carcass of New Jersey’s public sector pension system’. Steinhardt urged the Senate to ‘post Liz Muoio’s hearing, vote her down, and put someone in that office with a proper sense of fiscal responsibility.’

41 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Triune on March 7, 2018 at 11:55 am

    Good morning-I am a bit confused. When you say worst in the nation is that worst pension or worst over condition of any state, or both?
    Tim Alexander


    • Both, but that is a guess since I am not familiar with the workings of government in other states.

      On pensions actuarial reports put NJ as worst but I suspect the actuaries get bullied/bought to make the actual funded situation better than it is. Not sure if other states are worse but can’t imagine they could be.


      • Posted by Anonymous on March 7, 2018 at 12:24 pm

        Hi John how do you write the Republicans in the state are they capable able or willing to do anything to help the financial situation they always blame the Democrats


  2. Posted by NJ2AZ on March 7, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    I’d like to see a point/counterpoint style post between John and Mary Pat over which is more screwed: NJ vs CT


    • Posted by Stephen Douglas on March 7, 2018 at 12:22 pm



      • Posted by NJ2AZ on March 7, 2018 at 12:54 pm

        i was about to respond to myself and say they should also get someone from IL.

        IL might take the cake considering they have sales tax receipts from the state to the cities potentially being both backing for bonds AND pensions…


  3. Posted by skip3house on March 7, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    This blog may get to roots of NJ troubles.
    Who made the unfunded NJ Pension/Rx promises. Who voted for them? Why?
    Why are moneyed interests able to have much more Free Speech? Who removed rules of limited $$ ?
    Why allow political ads at all? Let interested people just google them. Equal opportunity.
    Support schools with income tax, and stop court imposed spending (Abbotts)
    Finally, responsive efficient I&R.


  4. Posted by MJ on March 7, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    None of this debt was approved by voters per our NJ state constitution…repudiation!

    Is this a viable option? anyone???


  5. Didn’t the NJSC already rule on that? NJ retirees constitutionally must be paid.


    The legislature constitutionally can’t be forced to contribute to the trust fund that pays the retirees.

    ” It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma…”


    • Posted by Anonymous on March 7, 2018 at 4:10 pm

      Because the legislature always leaves themselves a way out …Just like the COLA ..or the income tax


    • Posted by NJ2AZ on March 7, 2018 at 5:19 pm

      the real test will be when the fund assets are $0 and the checks have to be cut from the general fund

      give it about 5 years and we’ll see how that plays out


      • Posted by Tough Love on March 7, 2018 at 6:22 pm

        Yes, THAT will be the defining moment, AND whether NJ has a future or will become Detroit.


        • Posted by PS Drone on March 7, 2018 at 7:29 pm

          New Jersey has no future. Look at the bozo “we” elected Governor. The state is broke in manifest ways and this idiot spends his first month looking for ways to spend more taxpayer $. Last one out turn out the lights (after sending out the first batch of rubber checks to the drone pensioners).


          • i am a drone. 2 years ago on this blog I suggested a 3% or 4% borrowing from the Feds for a pension consolidation loan. It’s more than they would get on the open market and it much less than NJ would pay to any bank. Amortize the 3% over 50 years and it’s done. Easy peasy. If NJ defaults on this federal loan, it’s easy to subtract federal aid. It’s not a taxpayer bailout. It’s a win-win for both the feds and for NJ taxpayers.

          • Posted by Tough Love on March 7, 2018 at 9:15 pm


            (1) The State is a BAD RISK …… meaning a SIGNIFICANT likelihood of NOT being unable to pay off the loan. Risky loans are not made at 3%-4%

            (2) Amortizing the loan requires money we don’t now have, which means raising taxes………… which gets us back to the same place. We need to address the problem’s ROOT CAUSE, that being that your pension is LUDICROUSLY excessive. When the future service accruals of all CURRENT workers are reduced in value by a MINIMUM of 50% (the new level likely STILL being “excessive”), come back and we’ll consider modest tax increases.

            (3) E for you to say so say …………. “If NJ defaults on this federal loan, it’s easy to subtract federal aid. I” ……… but again, a bad idea BECAUSE the Federal subsidies would be taken away form ALL of NJ’s Taxpayers while only the Plan participants would benefit from the “loan”.

            Your suggestion wreaks of self-interest

  6. Posted by Retired police on March 7, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    Most of the problems were brought on by the Teachers unions wanting and more
    benefits without contributing enough of their salary. Not to mention the State for under funding all of the pensions for so many years.
    Gov. Whitman, proclaimed a pension holiday for all concerned, She is responsible for
    for most of the pension deficits, the new Governors learned and repeated, however,
    not nearly as severe.


    • Posted by Tough Love on March 7, 2018 at 9:19 pm

      Uh no ……………… Police pensions are BY FAR (and w/o any question whatsoever) the MOST egregious and excessive..


      • Posted by Anonymous on March 8, 2018 at 9:01 am

        Not when combined with no SS benifits and you know that. Early retirement options, I give you that.
        Towns dont pay the SS benifits to police. And the state is shorting the teacher funds. Towns do pay into the Pfrs. You know as well as I do, once Pfrs seperates, they will not be burdened with these other funds that are weaker. It will probably take 20 years or more for this fund (Pfrs) to reach the point your talking about. And before they cut pensions for retirees they will eliminate the benifit for New hires and borrow to pay them if need be. And they will force then current workers to pay a little more in and work a few more years. Tpaf and pers (state) need a miracle. A good start is making them work to 65 (a law since 2011). Prob not enough to avoid more drastic cuts. I am glad I am in Pfrs.


        • Posted by Tough Love on March 8, 2018 at 11:14 am

          The “Not with SS” is baloney …………….. SS being a very POOR return on investment for all but the lowest income workers.

          Bottom line, those NOT in SS are NOT paying for something that would be a lousy investment. If those NOT participating in SS don’t separately invest the SS contribution that they would have otherwise have had to make if participating, is on them.

          The Police Police pension is by a HUGE margin the MOST* “generous”, the most costly, and the MOST egregious of ALL public Sector Plans.

          * actually the (FAR smaller in total $$$) Judge’s Plan is even worse


          Quoting ………. “You know as well as I do, once Pfrs seperates, they will not be burdened with these other funds that are weaker.”

          Wow, that’s amusing. You are worried that your Plan is “burdened” by the weaker State Plans, and Taxpayers are “burdened” by the LUDICROUS, UNJUSTIFIABLE, AND UNAFFORDABLE generosity of your Plan.


          • Posted by Anonymous on March 8, 2018 at 11:34 am

            Not really amusing but OK. I don’t find any of it amusing. It’s a fact that NJ has been shorting the state funded(including teachers) funds at a much higher rate. In regards to SS, as you know it was designed to keep seniors from eating cat food. Plain and simple. Not every cop(or person for that matter) is money savvy and investment wise Sometimes thru no fault of their own. SS is designed to keep these folks off the streets. Not to send them on cruises every year.
            I max out on my 457 contributions every ear that I can. I pay 10% into pension. Town pays lots more. But when you factor in the lack of a 457 Match and no SS contribution, it is not as expensive as you make it out to be. Still a good deal for me. I get that and appreciate it.

          • Question, please. If SS is a very poor return on investment for workers (meaning they put in more than they get out), then why is SS projected to go broke in 20 years? hmmmm.

  7. Posted by MJ on March 8, 2018 at 6:42 am

    Silly question, as long as the Feds can print money, states can continue to borrow money……….what’s the problem? As long as the bond holders, investors, etc are willing to take the risk of lending NJ money and most are okay with Fed bail outs for a select few and NJ keeps ticking along….what’s the problem.

    We have been reading about the “impending doom” for over ten years and so far nothing really has happened even after the great recession…business as usual with pensions, benefits, etc other than a few minor reforms

    So if this just continues along as business as usual then what is the problem?

    Just sayin….


    • Hi, Hope this clears up your thoughts… Peterson Foundation https://www.pgpf.org/resource-library/search/federal%20debt Regards


    • Posted by NJ2AZ on March 8, 2018 at 10:14 am

      the doom has remained impending because the pension funds still have assets from which full benefits can be paid.

      around 2023 the NJ teachers pension fund should be EMPTY. $0. At that point, the state will have to pony up something like $5B/yr from the general fund to make full payments to pensioners. THAT will be the true day of reckoning.

      basically, the pols haven’t yet had to really face the true consequences of years of poor decisions.


      • Posted by Tough Love on March 8, 2018 at 11:22 am

        The Teacher’s Plans will never get to empty, as neither side wants to be exposed to the dire consequences of a pay-as-you-go option. Not sure what form “reform” will look like, but it will come well before the Plan assets run out.


        • Posted by NJ2AZ on March 8, 2018 at 2:09 pm

          Absent one of these ridiculous loans from the feds people keep suggesting, i don’t see anyway the teachers plan can avoid going empty.

          by 2020 it might be losing $3B a year because its so out of balance. the state can’t find the money that will be needed to prop it up.


          • Posted by skip3house on March 8, 2018 at 2:38 pm

            Let’s somehow submit John Bury’s name to our Trenton posse for the special job of designing a system to solve all this about NJ Pensions/medical
            Mr. Bury is sure to suggest, a solution that will make the best sense. He can be the ‘Mueller’ Special systems person, cutting through all the negative, not related, comments here…..saving us all the constant criticisms, bad arithmetic, and go on to other troubles.
            We have beaten this to death, proving ‘a committee will design a camel in place of a needed race horse’..

          • Posted by Tough Love on March 8, 2018 at 3:34 pm


            Here, I do it in just a few sentences………..

            (1) freeze the Plan for the future service of all current workers and replace it for their future service with a DC Plan with a Taxpayer %-of-pay contribution very comparable to what NJ’s Private Sector workers typically get from their employers (about 3% of pay).

            (2) Because MOST of the underfunding is associated with excessive promises that should never have been made. split the underfunded amount for PAST services accruals in half, with half to be paid for by the worker/retirees and the other half to be paid off by the Taxpayers.

            (3) IMMEDIATELY revise the healthcare benefits (SEPARATELY for actives and retirees) to mimic ….in EVERY way (premiums, coverage, deductible, coinsurance, copays, out of pocket maximums, network availability, etc.) …. those typically granted the active employees and retirees of large NJ corporations…….. noting that in MOST cases, Corporate retirees get NOTHING (but occasionally, VERY modest contributions to a retiree HSA).

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


            Skip, configuring a JUST solution is easy, but given the insatiable greed of Public Sector Unions/workers/retirees and how beholden our Elected Officials are to Union votes and money, a politically acceptable REAL “SOLUTION” is impossible ………….. until the whole house collapses.

  8. Posted by Tough Love on March 8, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    Quoting …………

    “It’s a fact that NJ has been shorting the state funded(including teachers) funds at a much higher rate.”

    “Shorting” the funding is hardly the ROOT CAUSE of the pension mess …….. we’re “shorting” a promised level of generosity that was NEVER necessary, justifiable, or affordable, and clearly granted ONLY because of the collusion between the Public Sector Unions and our Elected Officials, with the former BUYING the favorable votes of the latter with re-election support and BRIBES disguised as campaign contributions.

    Your OWN PFRS pension contributions RARELY pay for more than 15% of the TOTAL COST of a pension that (per demonstrations I have shown in comments on this BLOG) is 3.5 TIMES greater in value upon retirement than those typically granted the lucky few Private Sector workers who still get DB pensions, and who retire at the SAME age with the SAME wages, and the SAME years of service. That anything BUT appropriate or fair to Taxpayers.

    “Shorting” is a VERY VERY poor word-choice, MUCH better ones being …… RIGHTFULLY NOT FUNDING that which never should have been granted.


  9. Anonymous at 11:34,

    “It’s a fact that NJ has been shorting the state funded(including teachers) funds at a much higher rate.”

    You got that right… Technically, legally, morally. Pay no attention to the troll behind the curtain.


    • Posted by Tough Love on March 8, 2018 at 5:43 pm

      Taxpayers should indeed pay 100% of their share of the cost of a pension NO GREATER in value than what THEY typically get from their employers……………. which equates to a pension that RIGHT NOW is 1/4 to 1/2 the “generosity” (via formula & “provisions” such as absurdly young unreduced retirement ages) of those CURRENTLY promised NJ’s Public Sector workers.

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


      • Posted by Anonymous on March 8, 2018 at 6:45 pm

        Stephen Douglas
        It is fun to get her cackles up. Lol.
        Equal—- but NOT better. Haha. She’s a commie. And she thinks that’s your real name. Lol. And not the great debater from the 19th century.


  10. Posted by Stephen Douglas on March 8, 2018 at 10:54 pm

    Who says you can’t have more than one name?


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