COLAs Off NJ Table

Apparently in every budget in the “history of the state of New Jersey”, until the last two, actuaries have been snubbed.

As close to “no way in hell” as you are likely to hear on NJ public television.’

6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Anthony Mercadante on April 9, 2022 at 7:00 pm

    PAUL SARLO IS FULL OF SHT!!!….We are no longer under Chapter 78 as indicated in this letter that I just received….Yes, there is a bill introduced to return cola to all retirees. Obviously we support any effort to get the job done. But there are a number of ways to get where we want to be. It’s a long explanation, so settle in.

    Since we separated from the state, we aren’t under chapter 78 which was passed under Christie. That law ended COLA as we knew it. We are now governed by chapter 55, which gave our pension system autonomy to run the system.

    COLA was actually created in the 1950’s under something called the Pension Adjustment Act or the PAA. The legislature recognized the erosive effects of inflation on retirees pensions. It was subsequently changed in the late 1960’s and we all remember what happened in 2011.

    People who had been given COLA still retained it under chapter 78. Everybody assumed that our pension system paid the COLA to it’s members. We started poking around asking what does COLA cost our pension system on an annual basis? We couldn’t get an answer from anyone. There was a good reason for that.

    Then our friends in local 8 Ocean County, made an amazing discovery. One of their members, used to be a former PFRS Trustee. He told local 8, that the towns and cities were required to pay for COLA for people who retired from those jurisdictions. They forwarded that money to the State who then payed retirees. This was done under the auspices of the Pension Adjustment Act.

    This means that COLA didn’t cost our pension anything other than the administrative cost of them receiving money and forwarding it to retirees. Chapter 78 didn’t save our pension anything by doing away with COLA. It just gave towns and cities another holiday from paying any new COLA. They still had to pay COLA accrued prior to 2011. In time, these retirees would pass and the bill to the towns and cities got smaller every year.

    So, fast forward to 2022. We wanted to know if the PAA still exists. The answer is that it does, as evidenced by the fact that members are still collecting COLA. We’ve asked the pension board what account does that money go to when they collect it? We’d like to know how much is in there and what they collect on an annual basis. Still no answer as of yet, but we will persist with this line of questioning.

    So, the legislature could enact a COLA for most retirement systems. I’m not entirely sure if they could do so for ours, given chapter 55 granting us control of that system. Still, I’m not going to object on behalf of NJRPFA if they do. Otherwise, our pension board could enact COLA under the PAA. The towns and cities would once again become responsible for paying, just like they did for 60 years prior to the enactment of chapter 78. Now, we would be required to have an actuarial assessment of the impact of reintroducing COLA. The impact of which would be pretty much zero, since the pension system would just be responsible for acting as a conduit for this money.

    Our Facebook COLA Forum, which is about to break the 10,000 member threshold, has a lot of talented people who are helping us get our COLA back. We’re making OPRA requests to get needed information on this issue. On February 7, our group met with Senator Polistina who represents Atlantic County. He’s the co-sponsor of the bill to get our COLA back. Additionally, we asked him to consider a bill to allow those who retired under a 100% disability to be exempted from paying property taxes in NJ. He is going to get a bill written to give our disabled members some relief.

    I know that’s a lot to digest, but I want to keep everyone up to date on what we’ve been doing. We’re working hard to get our COLA back and to make life better for our retirees.

    Reply

    • Thank you for commenting. My take:

      1) Participants deserve COLAs because they were promised them when they signed up. Taking COLAs from retirees would not be allowed in the private sector but in NJ politicians make the laws and in this case they legalized theft.

      2) That COLA bill seems to be one of the first on the docket each session. It never goes anywhere and it’s not going anywhere soon.

      3) These pensions are expensive and big money has to be put in to fund them properly. Actuaries are hired to understate contributions and until such time as an independent actuary gets to call the shots these plans will keep edging toward bankruptcy, and

      4) unlike with union plans where actuaries did the same thing but the government through the PBGC bailed out those plans, there will be no bailout for public plans.

      Reply

      • Posted by Anthony Mercadante on April 9, 2022 at 7:56 pm

        The first to steal from OUR PENSION SYSTEM was Governor Whitman…who promised to pay it back to the tune of 33 BILLION…then through passes as far as payments to the Pension System the Government of New Jersey systematically drained the Pension System…where in 2000 it was 105% funded and still had over 100 BILLION…We swore OUR OATH and put our lives on the line every tour, and what was withdrawn from OUR paychecks came out automatically by law…and any given State cannot declare Bankruptcy by LAW
        Can states file for bankruptcy? Should they? What you need to …https://www.politifact.com › article › apr › can-states-fil…
        Apr 24, 2020 — It’s important to note that, under current law, states cannot declare bankruptcy. So Congress would need to pass a law allowing it.

        Reply

  2. Posted by Anthony Mercadante on April 9, 2022 at 7:07 pm

    Section 43:3B-4.2 – Benefits under “Pension Adjustment Act”; funding

    Universal Citation: NJ Rev Stat § 43:3B-4.2 (2013)

    43:3B-4.2. Benefits under “Pension Adjustment Act”; funding
    Notwithstanding the provisions of the “Pension Adjustment Act,” P.L.1969, c.169 (C.43:3B-1 et seq.), pension adjustment benefits provided for under the act for members and beneficiaries of the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System of New Jersey shall be paid by the retirement system and shall be funded as employer obligations in the manner prescribed for the funding of pension adjustment benefits by the retirement system by this amendatory and supplementary act, P.L.1989, c.204 (C.43:16A-15.6 et al.).

    Reply

  3. Posted by Anthony Mercadante on April 9, 2022 at 7:48 pm

    COST OF LIVING ADJUSTMENTS
    PURSUANT TO PFRS MEMBERS THROUGH COLLECTIVE BARGAINING WITH
    THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY
    THE PENSION ADJUSTMENT PROGRAM PROVIDES AUTOMATIC COST-OF-LIVING
    ADJUSTMENTS(COLA) TO RETIREES AND THEIR SURVIVORS WHO RECEIVE A MONTLY RETIREMENT ALLOWANCE FROM THE PFRS THE FIRST ADJUSTMENT IS AVAILABLE TO RETIREES AND ELIGIBLE SURVIVORS ON THE 25TH MONTH AFTER THE MEMBER’S RETIREMENT. SUBSEQUENT COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENTS ARE COMPUTED ANNUALLY AND ARE REFLECTED IN THE FEBRUARY 1ST CHECK (WHICH IS PAYMENT FOR THE MONTH OF JANUARY) THE COLA IS BASED ON YOUR INITIAL RETIREMENT ALLOWANCE
    43:3C-9.5) is amended to read as follows: 5. a. For purposes of this section, a “non-forfeitable right to receive benefits” means that the benefits program, for any employee for whom the right has attached, cannot be reduced.
    THAT IS TO SAY THAT CHAPTER 78 WHICH WAS CREATED BY THAT FAT BASTARD AND HIS MINION WAS ILLEGAL (AND FOUND TO BE SO BY THE LOWER COURTS WHO RULED IN FAVOR OF THE POLICE AND FIREMEN OF NEW JERSEY) AND DEEMED THE COLA A NON FORFEITABLE RIGHT

    Reply

  4. Posted by Anthony Mercadante on April 9, 2022 at 8:17 pm

    IN CLOSING, WE ARE ONLY ASKING FOR WHAT WAS PROMISED THROUGH COLLECTIVE BARGAINING WITH THE STATE,….AND IT’S NOT LIKE WE DIDN’T PUT OUR LIVES ON THE LINE…EVERY TOUR, THE INDIVIDUAL TOWNS AND MUNICIPALITIES MERELY HAVE TO PAY COST OF LIVING INCREASES….WE ARE NO LONGER UNDER CHAPTER 78 THUS, WE ARE ENTITLED TO WHAT WE WERE PROMISED WHEN WE SWORE OUR OATH,….(THEY HAVE GOTTEN A PASS, AS HAS THE STATE FOR OVER 11 YEARS…THAT’S ENOUGH….WHAT ABOUT THOSE OF US THAT HAVE BEEN INJURRED IN THE LINE OF DUTY AND CANNOT WORK ANYMORE??….8% COST OF LIVING INCREASE LAST YEAR…SO WE PUT OUR LIVES ONLY TO BE KICKED TO THE CURB TO SELL PENCILS, BECAUSE WE CAN’T AFFORD TO LIVE IN OUR HOMES ANYMORE…THERE’S A GOOD CHANCE THAT I SAVED A MEMBER OF YOUR FAMILY’S LIFE…OR FRIEND

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: