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Senator Shirley K. Turner (D-Mercer) testifies during today’s Senate voting session.

Seeks To Amend State Constitution to Require Full Yearly Contribution To The Pension System


TRENTON – State Senator Shirley Turner will introduce a measure today that seeks to guarantee that the state makes its pension payment each year by making it a requirement under the state’s Constitution. The payments would be made on a quarterly basis.

This measure comes in the wake of Governor Chris Christie’s plan to balance the budget by cutting the pension payments in the current budget, along with fiscal year 2015. Democrats have offered a budget for the upcoming fiscal year that meets the state’s obligation and makes the pension payment, relying in part on the wealthy to pay their fair share.

“There shouldn’t be any confusion or wiggle room on this issue, nor should the retirements of hard-working employees fall victim to partisan politics,” said Senator Turner (D-Hunterdon/Mercer). “We made a commitment to New Jerseys’ workers to fund the pension system, and that’s what we ought to do. It’s not about politics, it’s about fiscal responsibility and keeping our promises to the workers and the residents of this state.”

The bill proposes an amendment to the State Constitution that would close the door to any similar last-minute cuts in the future. Not fully funding the pension system is not only unfair to state workers, it will also create a need for even higher contributions in the future to make up for today’s shortfalls.

“Our pension system has been historically underfunded, and it’s time we do something about it. The fact is that public employees consistently make their full pensions payments each pay period and are due to pay a mandatory increase in health and pension costs beginning July 1,” said Senator Turner. “The state has a responsibility to fulfill its obligations, rather than skipping out on the promised payment amount. That’s what this amendment would make sure is done.”