Republicans Win Some Concessions on Pension Overhaul Bills

Author: Rory B. Bellows

Leaders in both parties released a 6 bill package that will reformcertain aspects of New Jersey’s public pension system. While the reform, co-authored by State Senate Minority Leader TomKean, Jr. (R-Union), contains some good first steps- indivduals can only collect one state pension, bans on pensions for part time workers, calculate pension averages on a 5 year basis instead of 3 years and a prohibition on state pension credit for out of state services- there are still further steps that need to be taken.

Further pension reforms are going to be needed because the state government, under control of the Democratic Party, is destroying our state economy. Without a growing economy our state will be forced to further increase our already outrageously high tax rates to meet the costs of retirement for state workers.

The Governor’s budget proposal includes property tax rebate cuts for individuals who make more than $100,000 per year. Rebates for those who make over $150,000 would be eliminated entirely. It is getting too expensive to live in New Jersey and people are voting with their feet. According to a study conducted by Rutgers University, 72,500 residents fled the state of New Jersey in the year 2006.

Not only are the citizens leaving the state as fast as humanly possible, it is becoming harder and harder to attract businesses to ome here. According to the Tax Foundadtion, New Jersey ranks 49th out of 50 states in terms of business climate. Massive taxes and reuglatory schemes such as paid family leave make it too expensive to set up shop in the Garden State. As a result, New Jersey has ranked 41st in the nation the past two years in job growth.

Most of the nesessary pension reforms, requiring workers to pay more of their health care costs and cutting back on pension payments, must be collectively bargained. This is why the 2009 race for governor is so important. Gov. Corzine has proven himself to be a union hack and he is vulnerbale. It is improtant for New Jersey Republicans to get energized and organized for the November ’09 campaign so we can get someone in the Governor’s office who stand up to public sector unions and demand that their members take on a greater share of the costs of their retirement. Because in the end, it is their retirement.

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