TRENTON – Senator Nicholas P. Scutari, one of the Joint Legislative Committee on Public Employee Benefits Reform Committee’s co-chairs, issued the following statement in response to testimony provided to the panel by Philip D. Murphy, Chairman of the Governor’s Benefits Review Task Force.
“Having Chairman Murphy here to testify provided us with valuable insight as to how the Task Force arrived at its conclusions, and how those recommendations mesh with what we have learned thus far.
“I think the greatest area of convergence between Chairman Murphy’s recommendations and where I believe the Committee needs to focus on is health benefits reform. Replacing the traditional plan with another will enable State employees and retirees to receive quality affordable health care while providing significant savings to the taxpayers.
“As Chairman Murphy alluded to, the Task Force approached the benefits crisis from a ‘blank page academic perspective.’ This Committee is responsible for crafting solutions that are applicable in the real world, recognizing the State’s existing legal obligations. To that end we are more likely to adopt a multi-tiered system of employee benefits moving forward.
“Chairman Murphy has placed our current situation on a timeline of failed and misguided policies. Presently we are faced with a choice between doing nothing and moving further down the road to fiscal collapse, or adopting lasting, practical reforms to reduce our future liabilities. A $50 billion hole today may be a $100 billion hole five years down the road.”