As deadline looms, what to know about N.J.’s epic pension amendment fight
By Samantha Marcus, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
TRENTON — The New Jersey Senate has until Monday to vote to submit a proposed constitutional amendment to the fall ballot for voter approval.
Until this summer, the question was whether that ballot measure would succeed or fail. But now it’s uncertain whether it will make it to the ballot at all, as one complicated and fraught matter — public worker pensions — gets pulled into another — transportation funding.
The seemingly unrelated issues have something big in common: their price tags. The pension amendment would require the state to drum up between $600 million and $800 million in new money each year, while competing plans to replenish the Transportation Trust Fund could erase $900 million to $1.9 billion from the budget each year.
Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) says the upper chamber can’t vote on the pension amendment and commit to that new spending until transportation funding is resolved.[…]
“This constitutional amendment is in essence a do-over, an opportunity to go back to the 2011 reform law and say we are now going to uphold our end of the bargain,” Eric Richard, legislative affairs coordinator for the New Jersey AFL-CIO has said.