Path to Egress

Among the recommendations of the Sweeney Commission in Path to Progress:

  • Make retirees pay a lot more for their health benefits;
  • Raise tolls;
  • Allow counties to impose a 1% sales tax;
  • more Study Commissions.

This is nothing but a bunch of insiders nourished on the teat* of dysfunctional government throwing out diversions.

In regard to pensions there is a modified hybrid plan envisioned (that will likely cost more since it will impact younger workers who do better under a Defined Contribution Plan) and this particularly inane charade they suggest:

The lottery ‘transfer’ was a gimmick as contributions were reduced to take into account lottery proceeds so nothing changed except for the willfully gullible who actually believe that the pension made $13 billion appear. So it will be with the NJ Turnpike as contributions will be further reduced so that those who get the Turnpike money now will not be inconvenienced.

As for localities being able to make in-kind contributions, that’s another (dumber) story. Newark may never need to make another cash contribution into the plan as they can simply transfer the bulk of their abandoned property into the pension while it retains some value. A couple more Study Commissions from now it may be worthless.




* Consider how much taxpayer money this crew has gotten over the years. The number for Raymond Lesniak alone could be $5 million when you count his government  salaries and contracts his law firm was given.

  • Paul Sarlo, D-Bergen
  • Sen. Steve Oroho, R-Sussex
  • Lou Greenwald, D-Camden
  • Eliana Pintor Marin, D-Essex
  • Sen. Troy Singleton, D-Burlington
  • Sen. Dawn Marie Addiego, D-Burlington
  • Sen. Anthony Bucco.
  • Joel Naroff of Naroff Economic Advisors
  • Moody’s Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi
  • Michael Lahr, director of Rutgers Economic Advisory Service
  • Rutgers’ Bloustein Center for Local Government Research Director Raphael Caprio
  • Assistant Bloustein Center Director Marc Pfeiffer
  • Senior Fellow Richard Keevey
  • Henry Coleman, a professor and former economist with the U.S. General Accounting Office
  • Donald Moliver and Peter Reinhart, professors of real estate at Monmouth University
  • New Jersey Society of CPAs Executive Director Ralph Albert Thomas
  • Frank Chin and Ray Kljajic of American Public Infrastructure, Inc.
  • Kurtis Stroemel, president at HR&S Financial Services
  • Jerry Maginnis, former managing partner of the Philadelphia office of KPMG
  • Former state Sen. Raymond Lesniak
  • Former state Treasurer Feather O’Connor Houston


36 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Tough Love on August 11, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    The suggestion (ala the lottery deal) of turning over the TPK to the Pension System is particularly troublesome. The money NOW generated in tolls goes to TPK maintenance and compensation. If all toll revenue is turned over to the pension Sysem, where will the money come from to pay for maintenance and compensation ?

    Answer ……….. either from tax increases, toll increases, or (as John suggested) a slight-of-hand where the identical amount is DEDUCTED from other moneys that would have been contributed by the State into these Plans. Again, as John suggested, it simply a way to count the Present Value of future toll as a Pension Plan asset ……. thereby artificially increasing it “official” funding ratio and decreasing future ARCs.

    And perhaps moving us closer to reinstating COLAs (virtually unheard of in Private Sector Plans).

    AND the biggest Sweeney cave-in …………… not proposing the shifting ALL CURRENT WORKERS into the new hybrid Plan for their future service. NJ simply CANNOT afford to continue ……….. for perhaps 30 MORE years ……… crediting pension benefits to current workers on the current ludicrously excessive basis …… high formula-factors and very young (unreduced) retirement ages.


  2. Posted by NJ2AZ on August 11, 2018 at 8:48 pm

    The lowest hanging fruit has got the be the health benefits. from a PR perspective, the general public, with their HDHPs, aren’t going to shed a single tear if the PWs lose their platinum plans.


    • Posted by Tough Love on August 11, 2018 at 9:08 pm

      Private Sector retirees almost always get NOTHING in employer-sponsored retiree healthcare benefits any longer.

      Public Sector retirees aren’t “special” and deserving of a better deal on the Taxpayers’ dime. They too should get NOTHING !


      • Posted by El gaupo on August 11, 2018 at 11:24 pm

        Local collective bargaining units should get whatever it is that they bargained with their employers (your duly elected councilman and women) for.
        Don’t worry….medical after retirement is becoming a thing of the past. I know of a half dozen or so police dept that gave the benfift away within the last few years. My own department just did for New hires. Granted current officers got something for it, but that is what bargaining is all about. This will be the last generation to get that perk. Longevity to is going going gone. As are sick time payouts. We gave up longevity to for new hires. Sick time for folks with less than 10 years on is capped. All that stuff will be going the way of the vcr.


        • Posted by Tough Love on August 12, 2018 at 8:12 am

          This whole business of “bargaining” in the Public Sector arena is a croc of SH**.

          Who is the Union “bargaining” with ………… the Elected Officials (or their representatives) whose campaigns they contributed to and helped get elected?

          It’s a complete farce, and everyone knows it.


          • Posted by El gaupo on August 12, 2018 at 9:56 am

            It keeps a roof over my head. Lol. If I made what the non union Dpw guys it my town make I’d be living in a 2 bedroom apartment or way out in Sussex county. Wouldn’t have stuck with it as a career choice and you wouldn’t have the distinct pleasure of conversing with the handsome one. I compare the salaries of pd to states that have weak unions and it is no comparison.
            I like not having the town say “no money for you this year” every year. So…I’ll keep the status quo. I’ve done well financially with it in place. At least you get on honest days work outta me. Not like most of the cushy political hack jobs in the public sector.
            MJ was right… cut the waste there. Leave the cops the hell alone.
            You can’t have it any other way with the police. You have promotions and a set process for them(we hope) and other than that you can’t have every officer making a different amount. You need a contract and you need to have collective bargaining. I know you feel otherwise and you are entitled to that opinion. This is the United States, land of the free. And both you and me TL, we are working to Make America Great Again. (Wink, wink)

          • Posted by Stephen Douglas on August 12, 2018 at 12:02 pm

            Especially over the last ten years, and sometimes even before that, police, fire, as well as non-safety workers all over the country have bargained pay freezes, and pay cuts, as well as lower pension formulas and higher employee contributions.

            Not enough? Perhaps. But don’t pretend it hasn’t happened. Those greedy bastards are taxpayers also and they realize that the greatest recession has meant lost assets and reduced revenue across the board.

            We’re all in this together if for no other reason than enlightened self interest.

            “and everyone knows it.”

          • Posted by El gaupo on August 12, 2018 at 12:17 pm

            I like this Stephen Douglas aka Earth fellow. He speaks the truth. And to TL— you can’t handle the truth

          • Posted by El gaupo on August 12, 2018 at 12:17 pm

            I like this Stephen Douglas aka Earth fellow. He speaks the truth. And to TL— you can’t handle the truth

          • You can say that again!

          • Posted by Tough Love on August 12, 2018 at 1:56 pm

            Quoting …………….

            “I like this Stephen Douglas aka Earth fellow. He speaks the truth. And to TL— you can’t handle the truth”

            No surprise ………….. one Pubic Sector “moocher” praising another.

          • Tough Love is his own worst enemy…

            Bless his heart.

        • Posted by Stanley on August 13, 2018 at 5:08 pm

          Steve: “Those greedy bastards are taxpayers also and they realize that the greatest recession has meant lost assets and reduced revenue across the board.”

          Sorry Steve, greatest recession SO FAR. You think you’ve got troubles, you don’t know what troubles are.


          • Posted by Stephen Douglas on August 14, 2018 at 1:02 pm

            Can’t really say I disagree with that.

            If, not when, it happens, you don’t suppose they will blame it all on public sector unions, do you?

  3. Posted by Coco on August 11, 2018 at 9:58 pm

    I don’t want to upset you guys but you do know Murphy may not agree to anything,but the Turnpike Transfer !




  5. Posted by MJ on August 12, 2018 at 6:52 am

    Didn’t Corzine propose something about selling the Turnspike?


    • Posted by El gaupo on August 12, 2018 at 8:08 am

      Yes. But he called it Assest Monetization. Folks didn’t like that. And it mostly involves raising tolls. Which Christie did….by a lot!!!
      But he did fight to limit the toll increase on the Hudson crossing. Along w cuomo. Oh wait…
      They were all in cohoots together and was orchestrated to make our boy Chris look like the working class hero!!


      • Posted by Tough Love on August 12, 2018 at 8:15 am

        In “cahoots” ………. you mean like NJ’s Public Sector Unions and our Elected Officials have been for DECADES ?


        • Posted by El gaupo on August 12, 2018 at 10:00 am

          Now now TL. Most cops DO NOT have much respect for politicians. Windbags. However, police were smart enough to ensure a very good standard of living of the last 30 years. Before that not so much. Going forward, not so much either. You call it cahoots(actually I did) I would prefer the term “a respectful working relationship between certain politicians and the taxpayers they represent”


        • Posted by El gaupo on August 12, 2018 at 10:36 am

          And like your favorite gov does, I try to squeeze the orange as much as I can.


  6. Posted by Tough Love on August 12, 2018 at 2:38 pm

    A question for Sweeney ………………

    Let’s put aside (for the moment) reductions in FUTURE service pension accruals.

    WHY should taxpayers even pay what has ALREADY been accrued for PAST service (especially for Police with the MOST egregious pensions & benefits) ……… given that we all know that the ludicrous level of generosity associated with these pension promises is clearly THE RESULT OF the Public Sector Unions’ BUYING the favorable votes of our Elected Officials with BRIBES disguised as campaign contributions ?


    • Posted by El gaupo on August 12, 2018 at 4:07 pm

      Because the law says if you live in NJ you must.


      • Posted by Tough Love on August 12, 2018 at 7:16 pm

        I’m in Finance, not Law, but commentator Eric form a comment in the prior day’s Blog-Post is (Columbia law School) and apparently, he sees it differently ….. pasting his comment below:

        Posted by Eric on August 10, 2018 at 7:58 am

        In New Jersey, there is no contractual right to a pension, as the New Jersey Supreme Court stated in Berg. There is only a property interest in the corpus. If there is no corpus, the property interest is zero. The New Jersey Supreme Court followed the old Spina case.
        I used to read and study what the court had done, but it is probably the most corrupt entity on earth, so I stopped doing it.
        PS Although I was an engineer by trade, and taught math for many years, I still am able to comment on the law since I have a law degree from Columbia University. Way back when, students either received an MBA or a law degree to assist them in business. I selected the law degree, but did not practice. I am glad I never practiced law.


        • Posted by El gaupo on August 12, 2018 at 9:42 pm

          Checks keep coming. And I think barring the A bomb being dropped on us we will be fine.


          • Posted by Tough Love on August 13, 2018 at 7:59 am

            Just to be clear,………… by “we”, you mean those COLLECTING this unjust enrichment, to the detriment of Taxpayers being forced to pay for it.

          • Posted by Anonymous on August 13, 2018 at 4:26 pm

            Hey is it El Gouge, sorry the sun’s in my eyes on the beach down here in the sunshine state. Anyway thought I ran into you at my clubhouse, said you were retiring soon and heading south? Might be I’m confusing you with a lot of someone else’s, lol!

  7. […] addition to all the politicians/future retirees on the Murphy pension panel there were a few familiar names on the current retiree […]


  8. […] away from the table. For example, this commission consisted of people who, conservatively, have taken in $5 million from New Jersey taxpayers so far. What kind of ideas are they likely to come up with? Ones that do nothing to disturb their […]


  9. […] Path to Progress idea is deeply flawed and wholly inadequate yet he still can’t get Governor Phil Murphy to go […]


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