TRENTON – Senator Stephen M. Sweeney, D-Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem and member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, made the following statement today rebutting claims by Republican Senator Nicholas Asselta that the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 had a major and lasting effect on the unfunded liability facing the State’s pension system:
“To say that the tragic events of 9/11 were a major cause of the unfunded liability in the pension system is absurd.
“For at least a year and a half before the terrorist attacks, the stock market had been going through a serious decline as a result of the dot com bubble burst. And while the stock market saw an immediate drop after 9/11, it started to rebound from that drop almost immediately.
“The truth of the matter is that bad decisions based on old information had a larger part in the events that lead us to the current state of our pension system. The Whitman administration became over reliant on the tremendous investment returns the pension fund saw in the late 90s and made decisions based on the false assumption that the stock market would continue to grow indefinitely.
“We are now having to deal with the consequences of those short-sighted decisions.
“It was bad choices over the course of years that have lead to our current pension problems, not the terrible events of a single day.”