Funding the Pension Long Game
Over the past year, AFT New Jersey leaders and activists have been working intensely on building support for an amendment to the state constitution to mandate quarterly pension payments. Our members distributed educational literature about the benefits of the measure, knocked on doors to talk to other union members and made phone calls to raise awareness of the importance of funding public worker pensions.
While we remain strongly in favor of this fiscally-sound, fair and appropriate course of action, the legislation to put the question to voters in this year’s Nov. 8 General Election ballot did not advance through the Senate. Claiming Trenton politics and the state’s economic outlook without resolving the Transportation Treasury Fund would cause voters to reject the ballot item, Senate President Steve Sweeney opted not to post the measure for a second vote and well-publicized controversy ensued.
“We will continue to advocate for full pension funding to legislators in Trenton,” said AFT New Jersey President Donna M. Chiera. “Educators, health care workers and public employees defer compensation for decades to fund retirement with dignity. We never miss a payment.” Chiera noted the state’s failure to fund the pension system has resulted in numerous credit downgrades, making it more difficult to balance the budget while providing for critical public services and a safe infrastructure.
“Union advocacy has been successful in cutting outrageous fees paid to Wall Street managers by reducing the ratio of investments in hedge fund and risky alternatives,” said Chiera. “We need to continue to educate members, voters and legislators, including our next Governor, about the importance of a stable pension system to the state’s economy.”
For more information: N.J. Pension-Funding Measure Off 2016 Ballot as Deadline Missed