The State Legislature took action on November 21 to send a bill to the Governor requiring the State to make quarterly pension payments. CWA has supported this common sense pension reform to ensure the State pays its obligated contribution every year, instead of making the pension payment on the last day of the fiscal year. By doing so, we lose out on investment income which saves taxpayers and the State millions, and actually reduces the actuarially required pension payment.
The legislation would require the Governor to issue pension payments by Sept. 30, Dec. 31, March 31 and June 30 of each year. Governor Christie had previously vetoed this legislation, but the new bill requires the pension fund to reimburse the state treasury for any losses incurred if the state has to borrow money to make a payment.
Unfortunately, although the legislation would set forth this payment requirement, we still need the Legislature and Governor to appropriate the full contribution in the budget each year. Without a Constitutional Amendment that would require pension payments, the state legislation is good, but we have seen this Governor and others skip payments regardless of state legislation.
Today, July 29th, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee approved bill S2411/A12, which funds road, bridge and infrastructure projects under the NJ State Transportation Trust Fund. This bill is a compromise with the Assembly version which would fund the TTF, provide reasonable tax cuts, and break the log jam holding up our pension ballot resolution.
This bill was passed out of Senate committee by a vote of 8 to 4 along party lines with one abstention. The full Senate is expected to vote on this compromise bill on Monday, August 1st. The Assembly is on call to vote but at this point no date has been scheduled.
Remember, the Assembly TTF plan would cut the state sales tax by 1 cent, which would create a hole in the state budget of $1.8 billion, making full pension funding very difficult and undermining our ballot campaign. We do not support the Assembly plan, and the Assembly plan has put our pension question in a very dangerous position right up against the deadline to make the ballot.
WHY IS A LEGISLATIVE TTF DEAL IMPORTANT TO PUBLIC SECTOR WORKERS?
There is one last step to get our pension funding question on the ballot in November 2016. We need the full Senate to pass SCR2, the resolution to put our question on the ballot, before August 8.
As of today, we also know that our pension ballot resolution is being held pending a deal on TTF funding legislation. To be clear, our pension resolution is currently NOT listed on the schedule for the Senate voting session on Monday, August 1st.
STAND UP / FIGHT BACK!
We need members to push phone calls to both Senate and Assembly representatives asking them to pass the pension resolution and reach a compromise on TTF and tax cuts that do not underfund the state budget and threaten our pension payments.
Here’s what you can do right now to help get the pension question on the ballot:
1. Call your Senator at 844-402-4286 and tell them to post our pension resolution.
2. Call your Assembly person at 855-346-9471 and tell them to support the compromise.
3. Participate in State House actions on August 1. We will be there all day until the pension vote is passed!
We need to keep the pressure up, get over this final hurdle and force the Senate to post our resolution!!!
More information is available on our website at http://cwa1036.org/index.php/issues/pension
Today, the Assembly Judiciary Committee approved the resolution that will put pension funding on the November 2016 ballot for all NJ voters. The Committee's vote today is an important next step to moving the resolution to a full Assembly vote, followed by action in the Senate.
Local 1036 thanks the resolution's sponsors and the members of the Committee voting in favor. ACR-109 was passed out of Committee along party lines with all Democrats voting in favor and all Republicans voting against.
The Resolution asks voters to amend the NJ Constitution to require the state to make its full required pension payments, on a quarterly basis. Making quarterly payments will benefit from investment returns to further build up the health of our pension funds and will enforce fiscal responsibility during the year.
Read more at NJ.com.
From Shop Steward J.G. in NJ State Executive Branch...
To All CWA Members in My Office,
This is what I can do:
1. I am going to be sure I am registered to Vote in NJ at my current address in the November Election.
2. I am going to be sure my wife, immediate relatives and close friends are registered to vote at their current addresses too.
3. I am fully aware, as well as my immediate relatives and close friends on the urgency of voting YES "down ballot" on the Constitutional Amendment on November 8 to protect our pensions.
4. I will volunteer to knock on doors and phone bank other Union members to get commitments from them to go "down ballot" and vote YES on the Constitutional Amendment.
6. I will post messages on my Facebook and other social media accounts on the urgency of voting YES "down ballot" on the Constitutional Amendment on November 8 to protect our pensions.
Do you agree to a 50 cent per week special dues assessment to obtain and pay back moneys that the National Union will forward to New Jersey to run a comprehensive campaign for a Constitutional Amendment to enforce our contractual right to pension benefits and to a securely funded pension plan and to support all legal and membership mobilization actions associated with protecting public sector contractual rights and benefits, with the understanding that the special dues assessment will cease once the loan is repaid or within 5 years, whichever comes first? (select one only)
Yes – I vote for the Dues Increase Referendum
No – I vote against the Dues Increase Referendum