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New Jersey Assembly Passes Pension Bill

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A bill requiring New Jersey public workers to pay more for pension and health benefits passed the New Jersey Assembly on Thursday evening.

The divisive bill passed by a vote 46-32, as thousands of demonstrators protested outside the statehouse in Trenton. A few Democrats joined all the Republicans present to approve the measure. The legislation, the result of a deal between the Republican governor and the leaders of the Democrat-controlled Legislature, passed the Senate earlier this week.

In a statement, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie hailed what he called "bold, bipartisan reforms" that will secure the solvency of the pension and benefit systems while saving taxpayer dollars. He said he would sign the bill on Monday.

Larry Cohen, President of the Communications Workers of America, issued a statement calling it "a dark day for workers’ rights," and accusing lawmakers of stripping bargaining rights from, and destroying living standards for, public workers.

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Comments [1]

rem mills from Westfield, N.J.

,As a New Jersey public retiree who worked 30 hard years for my pension, I feel I've been punched in the gut.

Under this bill, our C.O.L.A.,(Cost of Living Adjustment) which we were promised all our working lives, will not be restored until 2040, when the pension fund is estimated to reach 80% of funding. If inflation increases by 2% a year for the next 15 years, we will lose 34% of the buying power of our pensions. Buying power losses due to inflation compound each year, like bank compounding interest in reverse.

If inflation increases an average of 4% a year for the next 15 years, we will lose 80% of the buying power of our pensions.

While higher salaried, higher pensioned people may survive for awhile, the average public pension in New Jersey is only about $19,000 a year. Some of these people don't have Social Security to supplement their pensions. These very vulnerable people will be devastated..

The denial of the C.O.L.A to currently retired people violates Federal contract law, as well as the New Jersey Constitution and various State statutes. It is illegal. If our contract is thrown out after working our whole lives under its promises, who is safe?

Jul. 20 2011 10:45 PM

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