A top priority of the governor, legislators and public employees and their unions must be to secure the fiscal integrity of the public employee pension and health benefits. No employees, public or private, should have to worry about the security of their pension and health care, but worry they must because left unattended the funds will be depleted in ten to twenty years. Every New Jersey resident must also worry because without reform, backbreaking tax increases or devastating cuts across the board in state programs will be necessary to keep the public pension and health care funds solvent.
- The state must keep its obligation to fully fund its share of pension and health care benefits. To accomplish that without draconian cuts in other vital responsibilities of government, a tiered millionaire’s tax to raise $1bil. a year for the pension and health care funds must be enacted. This millionaire’s tax will have marginal impact on only 1% of residents. Those impacted have received a $500 mil. tax cut when the legislature phased out the estate tax.
- By keeping its commitment to the pension funds as “guaranteed” in Chapter 78 (Which I voted against and spoke out against at two public rallies), reducing the cost of health care benefits must be negotiated. To reduce costs, a prescription analytical company can be brought in to renegotiate prescription drug costs. Medicare options should be explored and negotiated. These cost saving are substantial and can help alleviate the added costs paid by public employees under Ch. 78.
- Pension padding through multiple jobs by elected officials and through political patronage positions of short term duration must be prohibited.
- Sign legislation I sponsored that was vetoed by Governor Christie giving support staff grievance rights and contractual protections.
- Use of high fee hedge funds to invest pension funds must be prohibited.
- By focusing on economic growth which has been tepid under Governor Christie and ensuring strong and smart economic growth policies combined with careful evaluation of government structure and priorities state government will ensure that our primary obligations to the people of NJ, including pension and health benefits are fulfilled.