Archive for the ‘New Jersesy Pension’ Category

NJ Gubernatorial Candidates Agree on Pensions

Insolvent/unsustainable:
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But beyond admitting the obvious?

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AFPP for NJ Pension Reform

per nj.com:

501(c)(4) organizations can engage in unlimited lobbying so long as it pertains to the organization’s mission. 501(c)(3) organizations are not permitted to engage in political activity, endorse or oppose political candidates, or donate money or time to political campaigns, but 501(c)(4) organizations can do all of the above. In regards to supporting these organizations, donations made to 501(c)(3) organizations are deductible to the full extent of the law as charitable contributions. Donations made to 501(c)(4) organizations are not deductible, though some businesses who make these contributions often write them off as advertising or business expenses.

Americans for Prosperity (AFP), per their latest 990, is 501(c)(4) and takes in over $80 million in contributions and grants. Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFPF),  per their latest 990, is 501(c)(3) and takes in over $20 million in contributions and grants.

I bring this up since AFPF (the ones who can’t engage in political activity) announced on their website today that they are investing six-figures in a pension reform effort in New Jersey.

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Soft Corruption: 1997 POB Traitors

  1. John Scott
  2. Dick LaRossa$48,376
  3. Joe Bubba$48,243

Soft Corruption by William E. Schluter ($14,663) has become a bible for one of my other lives as it reflects closely my experience with legalized graft in New Jersey politics. One example from the book tells of the story of the 1997 Pension Obligation Bond sale to which then-Senator Schluter had a front-row seat.  From pages 12-13:

Soft corruption entered into this major policy initiative when three recalcitrant senators were pressured on the floor of the senate to vote for the proposal, despite their very strong reservations. They finally relented and voted to approve the measure. They subsequently received substantial campaign contributions from the senate campaign fund – only to lose the ensuing election. But all was not in vain, as they were awarded lucrative patronage appointments following their electoral losses.

Here is the story (pages 65-7):

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NJ Pension Lottery – Don’t Bet On It

Per njspotlight:

Christie promised in the budget address that he would “look forward to sitting with all stakeholders right away to discuss the specifics of implementing this plan.” But it appears he’s yet to actually do so.

Asked last week for an update on the governor’s pension-funding proposal, Treasury spokesman Willem Rijksen pointed back to the remarks the governor made in his budget address. Rijksen was also asked by NJ Spotlight if there was a document or policy memo available to fully explain Christie’s proposal, but nothing was provided.

Still, Rijksen held up the lottery idea when asked about the latest Moody’s downgrade, which runs the Christie administration’s total number of downgrades to 11, counting those announced in recent years by other rating agencies like S&P Global and Fitch Ratings. Rijsken also suggested Christie wants to see lawmakers take action on the lottery issue before the current fiscal year closes at the end of June.

“The governor has long said bold action is necessary now,” Rijksen said. “He looks forward to the cooperation of the Legislature in passing legislation to allow for the lottery transfer prior to the close of fiscal 2017.”

There was only one reason for the spending of 30 seconds fleshing out this idea in the budget address:

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NJ Police and Fire Pension Bill: From the Fire to the…

Chuck Reed, former Mayor of San Jose, and a board member of the Retirement Security Initiative, a national, bipartisan advocacy organization focused on protecting and ensuring the fairness and solvency of public-sector retirement plans had an op-ed on njspotlight arguing against just approved Senate-Bill 3040 to turn over the police and fire pension system to the police and fire unions.

It is true that the New Jersey retirement system has been a disaster, with systematic overpromising and underfunding running up billions of dollars of pension debt. You might think it could not get any worse. You might think letting the public-employee unions take it over might not be disastrous. You would be wrong.

If you think legislators and governors have been irresponsible, too willing to give out sweet benefits and too unwilling to pay for them, you are right. But legislators and governors at least have to face the voters from time to time. Instead, this bill would put people in charge of making decisions who never have to face the voters. People who have no interest in controlling the spiraling costs of existing or future benefits would get unlimited credit cards. New Jersey is set to jump from the frying pan into the fire.

Three points:
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Breaking News: Christie Makes It To Eleven – And It’s All About Pensions

Minutes after hearing the news this is all we got on Ask the Governor on pensions:
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According to Reuters:

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Lesniak’s Pension Non-Answers

Another State of Affairs program with another gubernatorial candidate and again it is the pension question up front:
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Presumably a reference to more Pension Obligation Bonds which would certainly not have solved anything but rather made one aspect of the equation (the state’s deposits) slightly more predictable which was the heart of the 2011 reforms (trading away COLAs for some ‘guarantee’ of funding) and maintains in the minds of these politicians:
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