Assembly Republican Press Release -
Assembly Republican Budget Officer Declan O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth, issued the following statement regarding the New Jersey Pension and Health Study Commission’s supplemental report issued today:
“The commission’s recommendations hit the nail on the head. Unless we implement the necessary reforms, we cannot make the projected massive payments into the system. We will be digging our huge budget hole even deeper.
“The Democrats’ constitutional amendment mandating pension payments won’t change that reality. Virtually every ratings agency – the same ones whose pronouncements are cited by the amendment’s proponents when it’s convenient – agrees emphatically. No realistic amount of economic growth that will magically enable us to make the required payments. That would leave only two alternatives – massive, economy-killing tax increases or massive, service-crippling cuts to state government.
“Asking public workers to shift from ‘platinum plus’- level health benefits – benefits much more generous and expensive than virtually all of the private sector workers who are paying the bills – down to ‘gold’ isn’t asking too much, and can save billions. Other adjustments can be negotiated and derive value for our taxpayers and provide fairness to our workers – without destroying their retirement plans. This problem is solvable if we all work together – and act quickly. The hole gets deeper, and the remedy more painful, every day.
“Every day we wait to fix this problem essentially sets $10 million in taxpayer dollars on fire. The commission’s recommendations should be implemented to guarantee the system’s long-term sustainability.”