NJ Republican Pension Focus

State Senator Tom Kean Jr. (R), when asked directly what to do about the pension crisis in New Jersey, gave an answer within his two minutes of allotted time that had nothing to do with pensions:

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That $1.4 billion savings amount came from the latest pension committee report that included these talking points:

68 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Tough Love on July 7, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    Wow ………… simply reducing the now “Cadillac” level NJ Public Sector healthcare benefits to the HIGHEST Corporate level would ANNUALLY save $1.5 Billion at the State level and an ADDITIONAL $2.4 Billion at the County and Municipal levels.

    Did you catch the part ……….. “to the HIGHEST Corporate” level.

    Just another example of the financial mugging perpetrated upon NJ’s Taxpayers by it’s insatiably greed Unions/workers……… and enabled by Elected Officials who SELL their favorable votes (on Public Sector pay, pensions, and benefits) for Public Sector Union BRIBES disguised as campaign contributions.

    Every legislator that voted for a tax increase ….of ANY form …….. should be thrown out of office. We don’t have a “revenue-shortfall” problem, we have an “excessive-expense” problem.
    ———————————————-

    And that 2-nd Bullet, 1-st sentence, quoting:

    “Early retiree would purchase coverage through a Private exchange funded through Retirement Reimbursement accounts (RRA’s) covering the cost of a Gold Level Plan.”

    If that means what is appears to imply ……… Gold level coverage in retirement at zero cost to the retiree ……. that’s patently outrageous to NJ’s taxpayers when employer-subsidized retiree healthcare is all but gone in the Private Sector. Why should NJ’s Private Sector taxpayers fund rich benefits for retired PUBLIC Sector workers that they no longer get from their own employers?

    Reply

    • Posted by PS Drone on July 7, 2018 at 10:32 pm

      All lying all the time. Obamacare at own expense until hit age 65 and then Medicare at own expense. Stop with the crocodile tears and deal with reality.

      Reply

      • Posted by El gaupo on July 7, 2018 at 11:46 pm

        Nah. Towns will keep on paying for coverage that will be the reality. I pay $12g a year for family plan so, this bullshit of employees paying 💯 is just a ridiculous statement. Dream on.

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on July 8, 2018 at 7:57 am

          Rarely do we get the complete/fair picture when the description comes form a Public Sector worker, your statement above being a good example.

          What is RELEVANT is NOT what you “pay” towards the cost of something (e.g., your pension or your benefits), but how what the taxpayers pay (or are are responsible to pay in future years if part of the cost is deferred …… measured with reasonable CONSERVATIVE assumptions) compares to what Private Sector workers get from their employers for the same item.

          Example……….

          In the video in this blog-post it stated that the total cost of the “Cadillac” healthcare is $36,000, and I’m assuming that’s for family coverage. That’s far richer than the more typical $25,000 total cost of family coverage in the better Corporate Healthcare Plans.

          The employEE cost for family coverage in the Private Sector is typically in the range of 25% to 35% of the Plan’s $25K total cost or (using the midpoint of that range) 30%x $25K= $7,500. That means that the employER contribution is $25K-$7.5K= $17.5K.

          If you are paying $12K out of a total cost of $36K, than your employer (meaning your town’s taxpayers) are contributing $36K-$12K=$24K.

          THAT is the APPROPRIATE comparison………. YOU get a $24K annual subsidy towards the cost of your healthcare benefits while the BETTER Cooperate Plans typically only provide a subsidy of about $17.5K.

          Just as with the discussion of pensions………. there is ZERO “justification” for the taxpayers contributing MORE towards the cost of YOUR healthcare costs than what they get from their employers. If you want incrementally better (and hence more costly coverage) then YOU (NOT the Taxpayers) should pay for the FULL cost of that incremental benefit.

          Reply

          • Posted by El gaupo on July 8, 2018 at 9:49 am

            Well then advocate for more choices. Review the choices that I have to choose from in the SHBP. It is either that plan or an awful high deductible plan that is somewhat cheaper and covers next to nothing. Family deductible is $8000 a year!!!! No one I know chooses that plan and in good conscience, I cannot protect the health of my family with a plan like that. Neither would you!!!
            I have zero control over what plans are offered to us.
            Now you see why we took no paying into retirement in exchange for eliminating the plan for new hires. You would do exactly the same. You wanna see your blood boil—- read N.J. senate bill 2606. No chance of passing especially with Sweeney in charge but….with a cap on salaries there should be a cap on health care costs. THAT would be EQUAL. The idea that public employees have a great deal when it comes to health care is not true. The coverage is either excellent and expensive or shitty and still pricey. Salaries aren’t so hot either anymore. (Yea maybe for older cops in suburbs, I’ll give u that for the time being) so you oughta stick to pensions.
            If you and the others on this blog(who are actually far more hardcore in these issues, i.e, the retiree who wants volunteer police forces—good luck with that) spent as much time on things like revising School formula to stop Abbott bullshit, Medicare fraud, health care fraud in general, welfare fraud(huge in certain areas, here in some spots in NJ and just over the line in Rockland—it is gamed like crazy) you would find that you would save far more money. While advocating for cuts to my standard of living which you think is too high(I don’t—but then who does) it would also be nice to hear from time to time how you also condemn folks that game the system (like disability pensions) and don’t even work at all receiving free stuff. I’ll always disagree with the assholes that say “Obamacare for all publics and they pay for all of it”. Same asshole who is the first in line to criticize public’s at every turn. The best was the retired moron who thinks his neighbors should look out for each other and assume the responsibility of policing his town. How does one even debate someone with those views??? Look…I find the back and forth entertaining. At least I used to and still do…but it really is a waste of time blogging on here. Nothing will change your views…and nothing will change in N.J. as a result of this. I don’t very highly that the other bloggers who decry what I make actually write the legislators or attend council meeting in their towns. That is how change is made. Not venting on here.

          • Posted by Tough Love on July 8, 2018 at 10:25 am

            Quoting El gaupo ………………

            “Well then advocate for more choices.”

            Indeed we should, and in ALL of those options, the Taxpayer-subsidy should be NO GREATER than what Private Sector Taxpayers get from their employers.
            —————————————–

            Quoting ……………

            “Now you see why we took no paying into retirement in exchange for eliminating the plan for new hires. ”

            Horseshit, you did that because the older/long-service workers are GREEDY and only care about THEMSELVES. For self-serving reasons, you threw your younger “brothers” under-the-bus.
            ——————————————-

            Quoting ………………

            “with a cap on salaries there should be a cap on health care costs. ”

            No, as I demonstrated in an earlier comment, what YOU pay towards your healthcare is irrelevant. And indeed a “cap” is needed, but that “cap” should be that the Taxpayers’ subsidy towards YOUR healthcare is “capped” at what Private Sector workers get in employer contributions towards THEIR healthcare costs. You want more/better, YOU pay for it.

            Quoting ……………..

            ” The idea that public employees have a great deal when it comes to health care is not true.”

            Are you nuts ?

            ——————————————-
            Quoting …………………………………

            ” Salaries aren’t so hot either anymore. (Yea maybe for older cops in suburbs, I’ll give u that for the time being) so you oughta stick to pensions.”

            My advocacy is directed at your ludicrously excessive pensions & benefits,

            NJ Police pensions have a value upon retirement that is ROUTINELY 4 times greater than that of Private Sector workers who retire with the SAME wages, the SAME years of service, and the SAME age at retirement. And …….. with certainly no less in wages, and MUCH richers benefits (retiree healthcare).

            Go ahead, try to just justify this financial RAPE of NJ’s taxpayers.
            ————————————-

            Quoting ………….

            “School formula to stop Abbott bullshit, Medicare fraud, health care fraud in general, welfare fraud”

            All of this are legitimate savings to pursue, but pursuing those in no way diminishes the strong justification and need to VERY materially reduced NJ’s Public Sector pensions & benefits, and for all CURRENT, not just new workers.
            ————————————-

            Quoting ………………

            “it would also be nice to hear from time to time how you also condemn folks that game the system (like disability pensions) and don’t even work at all receiving free stuff.”

            I have brought that BIG problem up many times (e.g. the NJ transit cop on a disability retirement because she stapled her “trigger finger”). I’d like the “standard” for Disability retirement, to be meeting the requirements to get Social Security Disability. Under THAT standard, I’d bet the # on Disability would drop by over 90%.

          • Posted by Stanley on July 9, 2018 at 10:46 am

            The so-called handsome one: ” The best was the retired moron who thinks his neighbors should look out for each other and assume the responsibility of policing his town.”
            If I were to write a story about Illinois towns, I would call it “Dead Towns Walking”. Illinois property owners have been thoroughly looted of their home equity. And the cities and towns cannot manage their budgets and pay required pension and health payments. SO, would they have been better off without their stickup inclined police and fire detachments? They have been looted, they are vanquishing viable businesses to neighboring states and their future is rather dismal indeed. Yep, look to us morons to advocate something different. This is a stickup, hand over a bag full of bills of goods.

  2. Posted by MJ on July 8, 2018 at 9:15 am

    In Tom Moran’s column today in Star Ledger he talks about Sweeney cracking down on all of this happy horseshit….enjoy it while you can

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on July 8, 2018 at 9:59 am

      Here’s a link………..

      https://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2018/07/murphy_after_budget_fight_is_boxed_in_by_sweeney_m.html

      And quoting from one paragraph from the above link:

      “Murphy has his own task force looking at health costs, and he’s packed with an impressive group. He says he hopes to save a lot, without harming public workers. ”

      Well, if reducing the MUCH GREATER Taxpayer-subsidy towards Public Sector workers healthcare ALL THE WAY down to what Private Sector workers typically get from their employers is consider (by Public Sector workers) “harming” Public Sector workers ……. tough shit from them.

      Reply

      • From that Moran article:

        So, I asked Murphy on Friday: “Do you see a need to reduce pension costs?”

        “It’s irrelevant if you believe no one trusts us anymore and we need to prove we can be trusted,” he said, referring to the state’s past failure to set aside funds. “We need to prove we can be trusted. So, I’d argue with the premise of your question.”

        A classic dodge.

        Nothing classic about it. Straight out refusal to answer possibly because there is no link these days between the benefits being provided and the contributions being made (which governments get to dictate) so Murphy did not make the connection between cutting benefits resulting in cutting costs. It would be interesting to see him answer the question honestly but that’s not likely to happen as long as he manages the conversation.

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on July 8, 2018 at 1:00 pm

          Manage the conversation indeed ……………

          I attended one of his local discussions during his campaign hoping to ask him a few TOUGH questions, focusing on justifying the MUCH richer and hence MUCH more costly Public Sector pensions and benefits (than what NJ’s Private Sector workers typically get from their employers).

          To my dismay, the meeting structure required that attendees who wanted to ask questions submit them on index cards from which he (and his handlers) would pick the questions which would be read and addressed by Murphy. There was ZERO opportunity for ad-hoc question from the audience (too risky for Murphy), and obviously he wasn’t going to bring up for discussion the tough questions I wanted to ask.
          —————————————————
          And his toothy grin is unsettling.

          Reply

          • Posted by PS Drone on July 8, 2018 at 6:10 pm

            Classic bullshit car salesman. Has no answers for anything remotely resembling real fiscal issues. Like our Congress, he shares the ability to completely ignore fiscal chaos in favor of giving out lollipops like free child care (Pre-K for all!!) and community college. What a union bought fraud he is.

          • Posted by Anonymous on July 9, 2018 at 10:18 am

            Just because you are 24/7 obsessed with the issues surrounding public pension doesn’t mean the newly elected Governor is, there are many pressing issues in our State. The task force of pension, insurance and policy experts can examine and make recommendations but elected official and their beneficiaries benefit from pension,life and health insurance so they have a vested interest.

  3. Posted by geo8rge on July 8, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    Increase use of generic and mail order drugs:

    I would think pharmacists automatically choose generic unless a doctor specifies otherwise. If generics are not being used my guess is there is some kind of corrupt practice going on.* Since Trenton Pols love taxes how about start with a list of drugs for which a generic is available and impose an $0.10 a pill tax on the non generic pill and see what happens. The tax would be paid by the patient not the insurer but would count against any deductible. If the insurer was a federal program no tax would apply.
    Actually, one way of clawing back medical costs would be taxes that the patient pays but are netted against any deductibles. I suspect NJ employees are the only ones with no deductibles.

    Mail Order drugs. OK why are pharmaceuticals dispensed like using 19th century techniques? My guess is there are a lot of pharmacists in the state of NJ and they vote and lobby. Sadly local pharmacist is a good job and good wages, but it only exists because of local laws. It might be possible to evolve pharmacist into other medical areas, some pharmacies are becoming like clinics.

    BTW the end might be near. Pharmaceutical packaging machinery may be the killer app for your local pharmacy. PillPack will package your prescriptions and put them into little baggies arranged and labeled by date and time. They will cut your pills in half if need be. That might be hard to do in the back of a grocery store due to the machinery involved.

    * I once thought my generic drug was not working because an after effect subsided and requested the nongeneric version. After questioning my sanity the pharmacists told me he would have to special order nongeneric versions. So this generic controversy might not really exist, but pols keep using talking points from the 1980s. Actually the whole list of suggestions sound 1980s.

    Reply

    • Posted by El gaupo on July 8, 2018 at 12:33 pm

      I hope pillpack is a resounding success. I have positions with Amazon. Love the returns I have gotten.
      TL — are you telling me that you would with around 5 years give or take a couple years, that you would not vote for a contract (that the town offered!! no less) that would save you ten grand or more a year when you retired??? Of course you would.
      In the meantime….if the plans offered were not literally everything or nothing, you may have some folks more than willing (myself included) to change to a less expensive plan.
      But when you have someone who wanted to limit an employee to an in state doctor that will not work so well on a trust level. I live near NYC and when my kid was 3 she needed a cardiac procedure done (thankfully it was routine). I went into Columbia for it because that was where the best doctors were. Under Sweeney horeshit in 2011 I would not have had that option. Why? 1 reason. So the employees in and around Trenton had to use Norcross facilities instead of going to Philly. Who is he to limit where I take my sick kid cause he wants he friends to benifit. Fuck that. He even wanted public employees to live in N.J. even if they owned a house outside N.J. new hires? Fine they know what they getting into. But why should someone who lives in Rockland County and is a Boro clerk for a border town have to quit or move into N.J. within a year when they are established there. It wasn’t a requirement when they took the job. Disclosure— it always has been for police and fire. I am fine with that.
      Maybe if the prices of these plans came down to reasonable levels, the employees wouldn’t balk at the premium sharing prices.

      Reply

      • Posted by El gaupo on July 8, 2018 at 12:47 pm

        And you like to use the word greedy. I call it not bending over and being of the loser mentality of “I’m just lucky to have a job”.
        I don’t begrudge anyone for attempting to better themselves TL. Would you say that an NFL player is greedy because they want to get paid as much as they can? Maybe. But I don’t begrudge them or anyone for that matter from trying to earn a living. Which is exactly what I am trying to do.
        You’re definition of greed and mine are totally different. If the shoe were on the other foot…and I were calling you greedy because of your compensation package and saying you should work for less instead of bettering yourself for the sake of your family, you would laugh me right off this forum. As well you should. Whether you pay my salary or not….doesn’t limit my obligation to earn the best compensation package I can. I’m sure you feel the same way towards your own employer.
        If you want to advocate for law changes fine. But I laugh/shake my head anytime you or someone like you calls me greedy. Because you only apply that standard to public employees.
        You call the PBA a bunch of greedy goons for advocating for S5. Why would that make them greedy? When I see private sector folks lining up to give back Socail security because they are living well into retirement and don’t need it then I will line up for givebacks as well. When you cut thru the bullshit at the end of the day—-why the hell would you expect anyone to advocate against themselves ever?? That is not the American way. The losers in life just sit back and take shit like that. The smart ones work hard and advocate for themselves or find other employment. Which is what is beginning to happen to the teaching profession in nJ

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on July 8, 2018 at 1:24 pm

          Quoting El gaupo …………….

          “And you like to use the word greedy. I call it not bending over and being of the loser mentality of ”

          Re-read each time (above) I called your actions driven by self-interest or Greed. I just re-read what I wrote above, and I was dead on the money.
          ——————————————–

          Quoting ……………..

          “You call the PBA a bunch of greedy goons for advocating for S5”

          No, actually a better term than “greedy” is “slimy”, because while they couched they advocacy for S5 in terms of having control over their investments, their REAL GOAL is to increase benefits (one of which is reinstating COLAs) and lowering employee contributions.

          Only a fool would expect honestly and transparency from a Public Sector Union (or “Association”)
          ———————————————

          Quopting ………………

          “When I see private sector folks lining up to give back Socail security because they are living well into retirement and don’t need it then I will line up for givebacks as well.”

          Oh how mighty nice of you, comparing SS’s (MAXIMUM age 66 benefit) of about $35K to YOUR (age 55) benefit of over $100K.

          Reply

          • Posted by El gaupo on July 8, 2018 at 1:55 pm

            I said rich folks who don’t need the SS. When I see those folks lining up instead of saying”I paid in all these years” then YOU can call me greedy for not doing the same. Btw, I don’t disagree with you on health plan costs. What I am saying is let these stupid ass commission that they set up offer real options to the employee to choose from instead of one excellent and one really crappy!! Then I wouldn’t mind paying 100% of the difference between really good and excellent if that’s what I want.
            Generally speaking, once a employee hits 25 years of service, he is entitled to the health benifit package that was in effect when he hit 25 years. In my town, there are less than 20 folks still alive that are getting medical after retirement. Most are on Medicare already. The town removed the benifit for anyone with less than 25 years on in 2014 for the rest of the town.(glad I had a contract) They would’ve taken from folks w more than 25 years too but the law wouldn’t let them. Now, they will add 16 officers to those rolls over the next 30 years and that will be it. I don’t think the town would have a leg to stand on if they contractually agreed to it and it involved less than 20 or so employees. (Some of the older ones will die off before the last 16 cops retire – and they will be spread out over decades. The cost to push us out the door was too much to pass up as was no longer offering the benifit to new employees. (Police)
            The towns don’t always do what it is the interest of the state.

          • Posted by Tough Love on July 8, 2018 at 8:23 pm

            Quoting El gaupo ……………..

            “I said rich folks who don’t need the SS. When I see those folks lining up instead of saying”I paid in all these years” then YOU can call me greedy for not doing the same.”

            Another load of BS.

            SS is a VERY lousy return on “investment” (i.e., the required contributions). All but the lower-wage workers get little more than the value of the own contributions back in benefits. That’s VERY unlike YOUR pension. All of YOUR OWN contributions (INCLUDING all the investment earnings thereon) rarely accumulate to a sum at retirement sufficient to buy more that 10% to 15% of your VERY VERY rich pension.

          • Posted by Stanley on July 8, 2018 at 8:44 pm

            “No, actually a better term than “greedy” is “slimy”,”

            I would prefer greedy over slimy. Actually, I am not offended by any name that anyone calls me. Moron is OK. TL, in another thread you commented that short of bankruptcy you didn’t see pensions taking a whacking, (essentially). Probably correct at present, but it’s a better bet than not (IMO) that we see significant change in the near future. And, I’m afraid that Gaupo Uno’s bag of IOUs will turn out to be pretty empty of value. Imagine, holding up the town and demanding a bag of IOUs–and he calls me a moron. OK constable, later.

        • Posted by MJ on July 11, 2018 at 7:34 am

          El gaupo, I don’t think anyone is against the notion someone bettering themselves but not at the expense of everyone else……..that’s not bettering yourself, that’s getting something better than those who are paying for it and it hasn’t really been earned it has just been given…..working less hours, same or higher wages for same jobs, premium health benefits, more vacation/sick time, earlier retirements, less job accountability….you get the picture and I am talking about everyday people not private sector Goldman Sacs employees

          Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on July 8, 2018 at 1:13 pm

        Quoting El gaupo……………..

        “TL — are you telling me that you would with around 5 years give or take a couple years, that you would not vote for a contract (that the town offered!! no less) that would save you ten grand or more a year when you retired??? Of course you would.”

        Given the extreme/unaffordable cost of promised NJ Public Sector pensions & benefits, no matter how strongly you believe that your retiree healthcare benefits will remain free/cheap, they are NOT protected (as is your accrued pension). The lightlyhood of VERY material increases in retiree healthcare contributions or value-equivalent reductions in the benefit level, is a near certainty.

        Quoting ……………….

        “Maybe if the prices of these plans came down to reasonable levels, the employees wouldn’t balk at the premium sharing prices.”

        You’re diverting again. The prices are so high ONLY because your Plan is so rich. To the extent it’s “richer” than what Private Sector workers typically get from their employers, YOU (NOT the Taxpayers) should pay for 100% of the incremental benefits.

        Reply

        • Posted by El gaupo on July 8, 2018 at 2:17 pm

          Btw. I like how you never answered my question as to how you vote on the medical. Means I have your answer and it is the same as mine. So to raz me on that is hypocritical on your part.

          Reply

          • Posted by Tough Love on July 8, 2018 at 2:23 pm

            Private Sector workers don’t get to vote ………… to choose their bosses or have an opportunity to BRIBE them to get unjustifiably rich pensions & benefits (medical included).

          • Posted by El gaupo on July 8, 2018 at 4:02 pm

            You forfeit your credibility if you continue to raz me over “throwing new hires under the bus”. Anything other than saying I would not vote in favor of myself if I was in your shoes , shows me how you would vote. Lol. Of course you can choose your boss. Feel free to work for one who appreciates you more. That’s what plenty of newer public sector employees are doing when presented with contracts they deem unacceptable.

          • Posted by Stephen Douglas on July 8, 2018 at 5:17 pm

            Bingo…

            Vote with your feet. Logical people do it all the time.

            If public workers CLAIM they are underpaid, they should move to the private sector. If private sector workers CLAIM the public sector makes more, they should move to the public sector.

            As Tom West said: “Following that line of reasoning, it’s tautologically impossible to *ever* be ‘screwed on pay’, in either the public or private sector.”

            Most public sector workers are not full career workers. Only about twenty percent work thirty years or more. Average tenure for public sector workers is about eight years. Why do you think they leave, if not for better pay/benefits in the private sector?

            Greedy bass turds.

          • Posted by Tough Love on July 8, 2018 at 8:33 pm

            Quoting El gaupo …………..

            “You forfeit your credibility if you continue to raz me over “throwing new hires under the bus”. Anything other than saying I would not vote in favor of myself if I was in your shoes , shows me how you would vote. ”

            Of course I would “vote” in my own best interests (not being a fool), and I don’t “blame” you for doing the same.

            My “point” was that you should NEVER have been granted benefits so rich that it’s now necessary that newer workers be “thrown-under-the-bus” in order for you to be able to keep (at least for now) those LUDICROUSLY EXCESSIVE* benefits.
            —————————-

            * LUDICROUSLY EXCESSIVE = 100% FREE taxpayer-funded retiree healthcare in this day and age ……… when those taxpayers MOST OFTEN get ZERO subsidy from their own employers?

            Get real !

          • Posted by El gaupo on July 9, 2018 at 12:20 am

            Town offered it. They are ones you should talk to. You know what they will say?? It will be cheaper to get rid of these guys and pay for their medical and lose it for newbies than to go on the current path.
            So you admit that you would take the deal…you would be brain dead if you didn’t. Does that in turn make you greedy?? If you would do the same as me, and call me greedy….than I think you would fit that description as well. Sure took a lot of prodding to get you to admit it. Those who live in glass houses TL…..

          • Posted by MJ on July 9, 2018 at 6:24 am

            El gaupo, in the real world, private workers don’t get to vote on the type of health care coverage that they want…..the company chooses for them although I believe that there is some requirement that says the lower paid workers must be able to afford the plan as much as the higher paid workers. Sometimes there are 2 choices based on composition of employees and pay scales

            But no private workers do not get to vote on the health plan that they want nor does the company pay for most of it….usually it’s 50/50 of the premium at least

            So I think TLs point isn’t so much about the level of the health care but that the public servants should not get to vote themselves a very expensive health plan and then expect others to pay for it who don’t have the luxury of same plan.

            IDK……maybe for cops it should be different as I’ve always maintained I don’t begrudge the inner city cops one penny less than what they get due to the nature of the their job

          • Posted by Tough Love on July 9, 2018 at 8:26 am

            El gaupo,

            There has been no “change” in my position, advocacy, or who I “blame” for this mess.

            As I have often stated, the primary blame lies with our self-interested Elected Official who willingly traded their favorable votes (on Public Sector pay, pensions, and benefits) for Public Sector Union campaign contributions and election support. In any other venue such actions would be prosecutable as bribe giving/receiving and racketeering.

            Secondarily, your Unions deserve a great deal of the “blame”. While their role in getting you a good deal is well uderstood the level of greed, arrogance, dirty tricks, and taxpayer-be-damned attitude is palpable.

            I don’t “blame” any individual workers for the pay, pensions, or benefits that they have been granted ………… although more than a few are quite obnoxious about the resultant unfair situation in which Taxpayers now find themselves.

  4. Posted by MJ on July 9, 2018 at 6:25 am

    BTW….Tom Kean sounds like he doesn’t know what he is talking about

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on July 9, 2018 at 8:28 am

      He knows the subject VERY well, but he’s a “politician” and doesn’t want to “rock-the-boat”.

      Reply

      • Posted by El gaupo on July 9, 2018 at 9:34 am

        What’s with the “quotes” all the time.
        Of course I would “vote”, “blame” no “change” in my position
        Etc. Just say the word without the quotes,
        I get it when you say “politician” etc. but you overuse the quotes.
        @MJ private sector unions also can bargain for health insurance and private sector employees (as can public sector employees) can always find another job with better pay and benifits. In fact, most private sector workers will have what, 10 different employers in their careers nowadays. If that was the case with police work you would agree that that would be a problem right? It literally takes years before an officer gains enough experience to become a supervisor.
        In terms of the “fantasy” world you think I live in(like the quotes TL?) the state offers these plans. We don’t get to pick them. There is the one very good plan and there is one shitty one.
        Last time I checked, I breathed the same air as you, live amongst neighbors just like you and pay the same mortgage payments etc., coach kids as you do. As far as I know, every state in the country offers pension and benifits for public safety workers. Without trying to sound snarky, the only thing I would ask is that you ride around for a month with a cop and then decide if he lives in the real world.
        The job is certainly not a bowl of cherries. What world am I living in then? The one where I did CPR on Grandma in front of her family at a July 4th bbq? Which was followed by arresting a guy who crashed into a pole while on heroin? Just wondering how that is any better or different than the real world. Because I signed up for a job that offered the benifits it does?
        MJ, you seem to genuinely appreciate what cops do….and I thank you for that. In all seriousness to all on this blog….I am not your enemy here and I genuinely care about the folks in my town (obviously not the bad ones so much) but the ones who support us I would bend over backwards for.
        The benifits and pension and salaries too just like most jobs have gotten worse over the last generation. It has just taken longer for that to happen to police officers. But rest assured, future officers will not enjoy the same solid middle class lifestyle that I do. Mostly because of the less than 2% raises into perpetuity. Most of us are taking home the same as we did 7 years ago.

        Reply

        • Posted by El gaupo on July 9, 2018 at 9:40 am

          Look at Clifton PD and their rentention issues in terms of younger officers. They can’t keep em. Not just one or two but we’ll over half their hires. They have eliminated almost everything except responding to calls. That’s a big problem. If you don’t compensate people properly they will not stay and work for you. No one will take this job if they can’t pay their bills. Would you?

          Reply

          • Posted by BH on July 9, 2018 at 10:08 am

            El guano,
            I posted on here years ago then stopped. TL and her minions will never stop. They still scream and yell yet forget how much has changed post ch78. It’s not just the law that changed things; but the way municipalities negotiate. Those 3 and 4 % raises are gone. It’s now zero or 1%. Instead of bringing themselves up…. they want to bring us down. Free healthcare is gone. We are all on generic and mail order drugs paying $12,000 a year. Instead of fighting the health care industry, they blame us. Greed. Lol. Those huge sick time sell backs, boat checks…etc are gone. Everyone is capped. They fail to realize that we need banked sick time because if we get hurt off the job and run out of sick time, we don’t get paid and can be forced to retire. A desk job, fine…but we don’t have a desk job. I don’t ask for thanks. I ask to be protected while I protect you. Most just give a shit about their own pockets and forget about how our lives are out there doing the job. They fail to realize that the new kids are capped at $15,000 which will more likely become $7500 or even zero soon. And they will say good. That’s fair. But it’s a necessity. Most will just use it anyway and the towns won’t pay after all. They raised retirement age. They changed pension tiers. We pay more in pension, healthcare, taxes….etc. El guapo….. IT WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH. They will always demand we be brought down instead of lifting themselves up. Lower the bar. That’s their Mantra.
            TL preaches equal and fair. She’s all copy and paste. From 3 years ago. It’s the same shit. Save your computer battery, save your time, save your breath….. the 6 posters who are sadly and embarrassing still here, will never ever see things different.
            BH

          • Posted by Tough Love on July 9, 2018 at 1:59 pm

            BH,

            The years haven’t dulled your entitlement mentality one bit.

            Any desires to “bring you down” is ONLY to a level EQUAL to that (in pay, pensions, and benefits) typically granted comparable Private Sector workers.

            Clearly EQUAL is not good enough for you ……. and you still think you’re “special”, and deserving of a better deal (a MUCH better deal) on the Taxpayers’ dime.
            ——————————

            And we’re not fooled by your BS……….. we know that most of the Ch78 changes ONLY applied to NEW employees.

          • Posted by Tough Love on July 9, 2018 at 4:54 pm

            Stephen Douglas/EARTH,

            In an earlier comment (above) I included the following ………..

            “I don’t “blame” any individual workers for the pay, pensions, or benefits that they have been granted ………… although more than a few are quite obnoxious about the resultant unfair situation in which Taxpayers now find themselves.”

            It was YOU who came to mind when I wrote that.

          • Posted by Stephen Douglas on July 9, 2018 at 6:24 pm

            I will defer to the statements by the eponymous and non-obnoxious S Moderation Douglas. (Don’t check that IP address.)

            After adding the value of pensions and benefits to the wages of public workers,

            Less educated public workers earn higher total compensation than equivalent private workers.

            More highly educated, professional public workers earn less than equivalent private workers. (MUCH less.)

            Between these extremes there is a large cohort who earn roughly the same total compensation as equivalent private sector workers.

            These last two groups do not constitute an unfair situation for the Taxpayer.

            They are either EQUAL… or they are a BARGAIN!

            Got a problem with BARGAIN?

            There are serious problems with most public sector pension plans. Simply reducing the overall pension accruals will not solve those problems.

          • Posted by Tough Love on July 9, 2018 at 6:36 pm

            Stephen Douglas/EARTH,

            But as pointed out numerous times before ………..

            We BOTH know that what financially impacts the taxpayers is the net Public/Private Sector Total Compensation differential when the impact of ALL workers at ALL income levels are taken together. And we also BOTH know that when THAT is done, the Public Sector has a VERY large Total Compensation ADVANTAGE ………. and per BIGG’s AEI study, in both our home States of CA and NJ, that Public Sector total Compensation advantage amounts to 23% of pay, rising to 33% if the value of the MUCH greater Public Sector job security is factored in (also per the AEI Study).

            Taxpayers ………….. how much MORE would YOU have for YOUR retirement needs if YOU had an ADDITIONAL 23% of pay to save and invest in every year of YOUR career, and extra $500K, $1 Million, perhaps $2 Million for some ?

            Well THAT is a fair estimate of how much we are over-compensating full-career Public Sector workers.
            ====================================

            But keep shoveling the BS ……. something may “stick” with the uninformed.

        • Posted by Tough Love on July 9, 2018 at 9:56 am

          El gaupo,

          In the REAL world, (Private Sector) workers get employer-paid-for retirement security about 1/4 the value of your pension, and that’s ONLY if they are among the VERY FEW lucky ones who are still accruing benefits in a Final Average Salary DB Plan.

          Most Private Sector workers only get a 3% to 4% contribution-match into a 401k Plan today………. which likely makes the VALUE of your pension 5 to 10 times greater …………… I’ll work up some specifics later (which I’m sure ti will wake Stephen Douglas/Earth up for some more BS feedback).

          There is no justification to grant you MORE (*but WITH participation in SS).
          ———————————

          P. S. Are CAPS better than QUOTATION MARKS ………… lol.

          Reply

          • Posted by El gaupo on July 9, 2018 at 10:28 am

            BH, thank you. I am just about at the point too. It’s just the same argument every time John puts out an article. The last time we got benifits cut it was because of the recession. Now the economy is much improved. I guarantee as much as they complain about the pension, not one of them is limited to at most a 2% raise.
            There are trade offs with every job. I’m sure if TL makes a mistake she will not risk becoming the next you tube sensation.
            Everything you have said is true. Many things have turned significantly worse for public sector employees in the last 10 years. As they have for private sector employees. The difference is that the raise cap will decimate this job 15-20 years from now. Particularly with new hires. We are seeing it now. Our mayor and council could not beleive that the top two picks for our last hire chose other towns to work for. We are an upper class suburban town and they were offended that they chose other towns to work for. We are 15 steps to top pay.
            One of the differences between our job and private sector is that generally speaking most police officers are planning or should be planning to work for the same employer for their entire careers. For a 10 yr vet to leave his agency, unless he goes to he prosecutors office, he can’t do it. He will go to the bottom of the pay scale of the new agency.

          • Posted by Stephen Douglas on July 9, 2018 at 2:13 pm

            Holy cannoli !

            TL…

            “Most Private Sector workers only get a 3% to 4% contribution-match into a 401k Plan today………. which likely makes the VALUE of your pension 5 to 10 times greater …………… I’ll work up some specifics later…”

            How many gosh darn times do you have to hear…

            “It is invalid to compare pensions outside the context of total compensation.”

            before something clicks in your cerebral cortex?

            Set your inbred biases aside for the nonce, and forget about the public sector.

            Pensions in the private sector are not equal either.

            https://www.investopedia.com/articles/retirement/09/job-retirement-benefits.asp

            “When looking for a job, people often focus on finding the job that pays the most. But, unless the difference in pay is significant, more pay does not always determine the best job offer. When choosing between offers, it is important to consider the entire package: salary, medical and dental benefits, insurance coverage and especially retirement plans under which an employee would be covered.”

            The Bottom Line

            Bear in mind that your total employment compensation is not limited to your salary. Consideration must be given to the benefits an employer offers.

            (Denise Appleby)

            In other words, that private sector defined benefit pension may be worth twice as much as the other private sector DC pension, but each job may still have equal total compensation. And total compensation of either job may be about the same as an equivalent public sector job.

            Andrew Biggs has given us clear data showing that a public sector “Professional” averages $98,000 annual wages vs. $156,000 for an equivalent private worker. Sure, the public worker has a much better pension… go ahead and “work up the (irrelevant) specifics” later. The higher pension is not sufficient to compensate for the 59 percent lower wages.

            Taxpayers, what could you do with a $58,000 higher salary?

            And, once again, “Total compensation for bachelor’s degree holders is about even with private sector levels.” (Total compensation for master’s degree holders is also about even.)

            Got a problem with EQUAL?

            What on Earth were you thinking?

          • Posted by Tough Love on July 9, 2018 at 7:07 pm

            Quoting Stephen Douglas/EARTH …………….

            “Holy cannoli !

            TL…

            “Most Private Sector workers only get a 3% to 4% contribution-match into a 401k Plan today………. which likely makes the VALUE of your pension 5 to 10 times greater …………… I’ll work up some specifics later…”

            How many gosh darn times do you have to hear…

            “It is invalid to compare pensions outside the context of total compensation.””

            ——————————————————————

            Well, the “your” in my above statement was responding to El gaupo, a Bergen County (upper-crusty bedroom) community town Police Officer. By his own admission he intends to retire in 2 to 7 years, (which suggests that he has 23 years of service), his current “wages” are in excess of $140K, and his pension will commence at about $100K annually if he retires in 2 years.

            You have repeated the above MANY MANY times, and each time you just add to the proof that you are not very bright (or perhaps have some degree of intelligence but just CHOOSE to mislead and lie).

            Follow along …………

            “Total Compensation” = Wages + Pensions + Benefits

            If all 3 components are Higher in the Public Sector, Public Sector Total Compensation MUST be greater.

            Also, If 1 of the 3 components is equal in the Public and Private Sectors, and the other 2 components are higher in the Public Sector, then similarly, Public Sector Total Compensation MUST be greater.

            I’m not going to waste any time discussing a comparison of a NJ Police Officer’s pension & benefits with that typically granted a reasonable comparable Private Sector worker. Categorically BOTH are richer (MUCH MUCH) richer for the NJ Police Officer. If you seriously believe otherwise, you either in ignoramus, or a liar.

            That leaves “wages”. I don’t have the data to prove it, but I do not believe that is is commonplace for similarly situated Private Sector workers with education, experience, skills, and knowledge comparable to that of El gaupo (even though in a different field) to be receiving $140K in wages. While I will agree that there is a “possibility” that such private Sector workers with 23 years of service earn more, I highly doubt it, and IF true, the Private Sector wage advantage would indeed be quite small ……. with that advantage (should it exist) being MUCH smaller the El gaupo’s pension and benefit advantage……. which means that El gaupo’s Total Compensation would be greater.

            Thus the case at hand, your claim ……. “It is invalid to compare pensions outside the context of total compensation.” ………. is meaningless.

          • Posted by Stephen Douglas on July 9, 2018 at 8:43 pm

            “If all 3 components are Higher in the Public Sector, Public Sector Total Compensation MUST be greater.

            Also, If 1 of the 3 components is equal in the Public and Private Sectors, and the other 2 components are higher in the Public Sector, then similarly, Public Sector Total Compensation MUST be greater.”

            So be it. Now you (TL), have decided that El gaupo (the “your” referred to), is overpaid.

            You’re chasing your tail. How does that compare to police salaries in Salem or Trenton or Orange? Who gets to decide?

            In the real world, public or private, people choose their employment based not just on pensions, which, fact of life, are usually higher in the public sector, but also on wages and benefits, which, fact of life, are often much higher in the private sector.

            And kudos to El gaupo. Cities compete for the best qualified officers. It’s mutually beneficial for both parties. If Earth were here, I’m sure she would agree. It’s the American Way.

          • Posted by Earth on July 9, 2018 at 8:57 pm

            “you either in ignoramus, or a liar.”?

            DON’T MAKE ME COME DOWN THERE!

          • Posted by Tough Love on July 9, 2018 at 8:57 pm

            Stephen Douglas/Earth,

            Nice dodge………….. still not sure if you’re an ignoramus, or a liar.

          • Posted by El gaupo on July 9, 2018 at 10:22 pm

            “TL” yes 23 years of service. Sounds better to say I’m in my 24th year. I can now say I am in my pentultimate year of service. Although staying 30 seems wise given that my kids will be coming out of instead of going into college. We will see how the “insurance” industry works out. On a side note, just about every working family on my block makes around what my wife and I make. You really can’t live comfortably on less in these parts.
            Stephan Douglas — glad to have you around.
            Earth— puts a smile on the handsome ones face.
            Stanley— sounds like you live in the Midwest?? You ever see the movie the purge?? No thanks. I’ll take the police and fire dept.

          • Posted by Tough Love on July 9, 2018 at 10:53 pm

            El gaupo,

            I noticed that you didn’t respond to one of my most important points in an earlier comment. I’m pasting it below. Do you have ANY response ?
            —————————————————

            NJ Police pensions have a value upon retirement that is ROUTINELY 4 times greater than that of Private Sector workers who retire with the SAME wages, the SAME years of service, and the SAME age at retirement. And …….. with certainly no less in wages, and MUCH richer benefits (retiree healthcare).

            Go ahead, try to just justify this financial RAPE of NJ’s taxpayers.

          • Posted by Stephen Douglas on July 9, 2018 at 11:26 pm

            LOL!

          • Posted by Tough Love on July 10, 2018 at 8:02 am

            Stephen Douglas/Earth,

            Yes, I persist …………..

            Why don’t YOU try to answer my question to El gaupo ………… noting that BECAUSE his “wages” (alone) are far more lightly to be GREATER (rather than LOWER) those of comparably experienced, educated, skilled, and knowledgeable Private Sector workers, your standard fallback is in El gaupo’s case…………… “It is invalid to compare pensions outside the context of total compensation.” …………. clearly bogus ?

          • “far more lightly” ?

            That right there is your answer, Brother Love.

            In your opinion his wages are higher. Butt, until you can produce actual empirical data on the incomes of these “comparably experienced, educated, skilled, and knowledgeable Private Sector workers”, you got nothin’.

            How many times have I and others said that we don’t know what a policeman is worth?
            We can have two GED level 25 year old wokers, one a roofer and one a rookie patrolman. We already know the roofer has a more hazardous job. Does that mean we pay him more? I don’t think so.

            We could have an experienced cop with a BA or higher, in a management or leadership position, with all the legal and moral responsibility that entails. Who do you compare him/her to?

            “far more lightly” is an opinion, not data.

          • Posted by Tough Love on July 10, 2018 at 9:27 am

            OK Stephen/Earth, let’s play your game …………

            Yes, it’s “far more likely” that his “wages” (alone) are MORE (not Less) than comparably situated Private Sector workers, but of course they MIGHT be lower.

            So ……….. are you proposing that any disadvantage that he MIGHT have in “wages” is less in value and not MUCH more than offset, sourcing from HIS advantage via his multiples greater-in-value pension and benefits ?

            Be careful how you answer …………… you likely don’t want to sound stupid.

          • Posted by Stephen Douglas on July 10, 2018 at 10:58 am

            I just said we don’t have data for police like we do (sort off) for non safety. You speak vaguely of general parameters of comparably experienced, educated, skilled, and knowledgeable Private Sector workers. You got no solid quantifiable data, you got nothing but dueling opinions.

            You have already unilaterally decided that El gaupo is overpaid. So be it. Are there any cops in New Jersey who you think are underpaid? By how much, and who gets to decide?

          • Posted by Tough Love on July 10, 2018 at 1:04 pm

            Stephen Douglas/’EARTH,

            Actually, whatI said was that El gaupo was “marginally overpaid” ………. but VASTLY “OVER-COMPENSATED”.

          • Posted by BH on July 13, 2018 at 2:22 pm

            TL,
            Quoting TL
            “”And we’re not fooled by your BS……….. we know that most of the Ch78 changes ONLY applied to NEW employees.””

            Again…. and again……. and Yet again… you are wrong.
            Chapter 78 did in fact change many things for current employees. Which again is why you lack credibility. Current employees were not paying into healthcare….. because of chp 78 they are now….35% of the ever increasing premium to be exact. Actually, that’s more than most private sector employees. Pfrs pension contributions were increased for current employees. …
            I mean I could sit here and list each change but what’s the point? You’ll insist it’s not enough. You’ll cry about equal and fair.
            I’ll just let the uniformed reader know that chapter 78 changes both new hires and CURRENT workers. So when you spew your venom… at least be accurate.

          • Posted by Tough Love on July 13, 2018 at 4:47 pm

            BH,

            Yes, NJ’s Public Sector workers started paying a healthcare premium (but with only the highest paid paying 35%, not ALL as you incorrectly suggested.).

            And actually, as a % of the cost, it’s not more than what Private Sector workers typically pay towards their far-less-generous healthcare costs. And as I demonstrated a few days ago on the Blog, what you pay (for Platinum+ healthcare coverage) is NOT the relevant metric. The relevant metric is the Taxpayer’s contribution towards your healthcare costs vs what they typically get from THEIR employers …… and your subsidy is always MUCH greater.

            And quoting …………..

            “I mean I could sit here and list each change but what’s the point?”

            Go ahead, make the readers laugh !

            Did Chapter 78 change CURRENT workers’ pension formula for their FUTURE Service accruals? No, the now ludicrously excessive formulas and provisions will remain for perhaps 20 MORE years until these workers retire

            Did it change CURRENT workers’ full retirement age …………… No, they will continue to retire 5, 10, even15 years earlier than their Private Sector counterparts, and with ZERO reduction in payout for being able to begin collecting a pension at such a young age.

            Did it change the heavily subsidized early retirement factors …….. No, another actuarial ripoff, The per-year-of-age factor should be increased to 5% (or 6% like Social Security applies) for early retirements.

            Did the pathetically easy-to-meet (and patently PHONY) requirements for a “Disability retirement” get tightened? No, still a huge taxpayer ripoff.

  5. Posted by geo8rge on July 9, 2018 at 9:52 am

    “Discourage the use of emergency rooms for non-emergent care;” Emergent?
    My guess is this was lifted from some other document floating around since the 1980s. The other suggestions were either already implemented, like generics, or silly like patient education. So in short, there is no plan.

    Policy Suggestion: Yo Phil, call your ole buddy Jamie at JP Morgan and see if NJ can get in on the Amazon-Berkshire Hathaway-JP Morgan Healthcare alliance. Adding NJ to AMZN-BRK-JPM-NJ would be cheap and effective and the best part is Trenton can blame them if it does not work. Oh, maybe if NJ was really really cooperative with their scheme vanity+pride might convince a certain somebody to put HQ2 in NJ.

    Reply

    • Posted by geo8rge on July 9, 2018 at 10:06 am

      On the subject of generic drugs, Israeli generic drug giant Teva is moving their HQ from Philly to Troy Hills. So maybe Governor Phil should talk to them about what NJ should do as they really do know how healthcare works in different countries.

      Reply

  6. Posted by PS Drone on July 9, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    You could replace IL NJ and the graph would probably look the same:

    ://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-07-09/truth-about-illinois-pensions-one-stunning-chart

    Reply

    • Posted by Stephen Douglas on July 9, 2018 at 11:00 pm

      And both would be wrong. That is the most dramatic… and most misleading graph in modern journalism.

      All the values graphed are the increase in annual values… except one.

      The correct comparison would be “annual benefits paid” ($18.6 billion in 2016), not “promised benefits”

      They use what they call either “pension benefit growth” or “Promised state pension benefits”.

      These are NOT the same thing, yet they are continually used interchangeably.

      “Promised state pension benefits” are the accrued liabilities… For the next 30 years.

      Ted Dabrowski should be ashamed. Tyler Durden too.

      This is Brietbart level incompetence.

      And you fell for it!

      Reply

  7. Posted by Stanley on July 10, 2018 at 6:54 pm

    Between the graph and your analysis of it, I find your point of view just plain bizarre. Any way you shake and bake it, Illinois pension and financial problems are exceedingly grim. Illinois is a basket case plain and simple. If you want to think that Wirepoints is exaggerating Illinois financial difficulties you go right ahead. In a financial mania, it’s hard to make correct sense of financial values and IL may be worse than is depicted in the graph.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on July 10, 2018 at 8:12 pm

      Any serious/extended economic downturn and Stephen Douglas/EARTH’s State of CA will turn into Ill.

      Reply

    • Posted by Stephen Douglas on July 10, 2018 at 8:15 pm

      Of course Illinois is a basket case. So is New Jersey and Kentucky. Just saying their claim that the crisis wasn’t caused by shorting the contributions is bogus. More of their contributions now are going to pay the interest charges than are going for normal cost.

      Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on July 10, 2018 at 9:33 pm

        Oh………….. and the ROOT CAUSE of Illinois’s pension problem isn’t that the promised BENEFITS are too generous ????

        ——————————————–
        Just like everywhere else.

        Reply

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