SWEENEY: GOVERNOR’S REFUSAL TO FULLY FUND PENSION PAYMENTS IS FISCALLY IRRESPONSIBLE

Sweeney in Wildwood

TRENTON — Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester) issued the following statement after the Governor’s veto of the Democratic budget that funded the $3.1 billion pension payment required under a 2010 pension law that the governor signed:

“For the third budget year in a row, the governor is breaking his promise by failing to make the pension payment required under the law he signed in 2010. Unlike last year, when state revenues plunged, this year the Governor is refusing to make the required $3.1 billion payment even though state revenues are rising. Our budget showed that the pensions could be funded in a fiscally-responsible way. It was the governor’s choice not to do so.

“Pensions and benefits are deferred compensation that employees earn in their careers of service to the public. Like everyone else, they don’t and can’t work for free. The governor shouldn’t be pitting public servants against the people they serve.

“Failing to make the required payments only pushes the state deeper into the hole and will cost future taxpayers billions of dollars more. Every $1 we fail to put into the system costs taxpayers $3 in the future.

“Failing to make the required payments increases the unfunded liability, threatens the viability of the pension system, and is regarded negatively by the bond rating agencies who have already downgraded New Jersey a record nine times under this administration.

“By refusing to fund the pension system, he is repeating the same mistakes that have exacerbated the state’s ongoing fiscal crisis and contributed to a lagging economy that has hit middle class families and working people the hardest.”