Sweeney: Pension Reform A Nonstarter Unless Governor Follows The Law He Signed

TRENTON — Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Cumberland/Salem) released the following statement after Governor Christie proposed additional reforms to the public employee pension and health benefits system:

“For years, I have been concerned with the growing magnitude of the crisis that has left the pension system on the edge of collapse. Obviously, the Governor shares that concern.

“The Governor is halfway there. We do need further reform to keep the public pension system afloat, but we also need to show we are committed to making the system work for the lifelong employees who are relying on it for a secure retirement.

“The Governor must follow the law he signed only six months ago and put money into the pension system. I am more than ready to sit with the Governor and discuss needed reforms, but they will not move in the Senate until a check is cut, deposited and cleared.

“We can’t expect public workers to pay more and not hold up our end of the deal any longer. If the problem is as great as the Treasurer says, we can’t expect workers to shoulder the entire cost of fixing it.

“It doesn’t matter what else is proposed. Unless we pay into the system, it will remain broken.”