Chasing More Stender Dirt

There apparently is now a state investigation and $11,000 to be repaid and MY9 is still chasing and coming up with Linda Stender intimidating the Habitat for Humanity folks and ratting out her husband to Jerry Green:
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Neil Cohen, Joe Cryan, and now Linda Stender. Are there any depths of depravity to which our elected representatives in this county will not sink to embarrass their constituents?

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Breaking News: Court Rules Christie Must Pay

Hours before a budget address New Jersey governor Chris Christie must now address the issue of where he is going to find another $1.6 billion according to a report of a ruling released today:

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Chasing Stender

Not strictly a pension story (unless you consider that this New Jersey Assemblywoman may soon be collecting one) but it does point up the hypocrisy of some politicians who advocate helping the poor when it is actually their own interests they seek to advance, though rarely this brazenly:

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$6.1 Million to NJ Politicians

An argument public workers often use to convince themselves that their pensions are secure is that the politicians themselves are also in these plans so they would look to protect their own interests.

According to updated pension data released by the state there are 345 retirees whose last employer was either the Senate, General Assembly, or Chief Executives Office getting as of December, 2014 a combined $6,130,623 in pension payments annually.  Among those pensioners are at least:

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Projecting NJ Pensions

Can New Jersey afford to annually pay $15.6 billion for a budget item that now stands at $700 million (in a good year)?

Based on raw data provided by the state showing retiree monthly payouts for the years 2012 through 2014 (with partial data for 2011) that is what will need to be paid in 2024 to 423,000 retirees out of the state budget (the ‘trust’ fund having been long depleted by then) if the rate of growth on pension payouts from 2012 through 2014 continues.  But that’s still a best-case scenario since:

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New Jersey Pensioner Detail

Media attention is on 1,988 retirees in the New Jersey pension system collecting over $100,000 annually but looking over the data dump and putting it into manipulable spreadsheets (after deleting 3,367 entries with $0 amounts that likely distorts average payout figures) yields some chilling facts.

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Raise Taxes Quoth the Raver

The penultimate comment to this blog as of now reads:

I was searching for a link to my original article when I came across this. Sorry I missed it the first time.

I guess the author thinks it’s an “old bromide” to point out that the state has a legal obligation to pay employees what they agreed to pay them for work the employees have already done.

And it turns out I was right: the benefits are quite modest by any reasonable standard:

http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/14/12/18/new-study-contradicts-christie-s-claim-that-pension-payouts-are-excessive/

What’s really getting old is ignoring the realities of labor markets. If you want to attract a certain caliber of people to work in public service, you need to pay them. Conflating union dues and pension payments does nothing to address this.

BTW: if you didn’t like this post, wait until you see my next piece at NJ Spotlight…

Mark Weber

Mr. Weber’s njspotlight piece is out this morning and he is right.

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