Senator Committed to Seeing Amendment Put to Voters
TRENTON – Senator Shirley K. Turner today said the Supreme Court ruling that pension reforms enacted last year do not constitutionally apply to judges’ pension means it must be left to the voters to ensure the law applies equally to all public employees.
Turner is prime sponsor – along with Senate President Steve Sweeney – of a proposed constitutional amendment (SCR-110) that would ensure that judges pay the higher contribution rate needed to help stabilize their pension system and prevent its bankruptcy. Currently, the Judicial Retirement System carries a $280.5 million unfunded liability – making it the most unstable of the state’s public employee pension systems, able to meet only 52.1 percent of its obligations.
“No one should be treated differently under the law, even the public employees whose job it is to interpret our laws,” said Turner (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). “The pension reform law is critical to returning our pension systems to health and the ability to deliver on their promises. With the Judicial Retirement System in such poor shape, our judges need to swallow hard and take their medicine, or else run the very real risk of seeing their pension system run aground.”
Turner said she will work with the Senate President in any way necessary to see the proposed constitutional amendment put to the voters as soon as possible.