FUENTES, WILSON PRAISE PASSAGE, ENACTMENT OF PENSION REFORM PACKAGE

Will Provide Benefits for Both Taxpayers and Public Employees

(CAMDEN) — Assemblymen Angel Fuentes and Gilbert L. “Whip” Wilson today praised the swift passage and enactment of legislation to reform New Jersey’s pension and benefits system.

“These reforms strike the right balance between protecting the interests of New Jersey taxpayers and the retirement benefits of public workers,” said Fuentes (D-Camden). “The extra effort the Assembly took to fully examine the legislation and the issues surrounding them was time well spent.”

“These reforms will bring immediate relief to New Jersey taxpayers in the upcoming budget,” said Wilson (D-Camden). “And they will help put New Jersey’s pension system back on the path to sustainable fiscal health. It’s a win-win.”

The bills:

  • Make numerous changes to public worker health benefits, mainly by requiring all public employees to pay at least 1.5 percent of their salary toward health benefits after the expiration of a current contract (A-2460), sponsored by Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-Essex/Passaic) and Assembly Republican Leader Alex DeCroce (R-Morris). It was approved 66-3-6;
  • Make numerous changes to other public employee benefits, mainly by limiting sick leave payouts for all new local and school employees (A-2459), sponsored by DeCroce and Oliver. It was approved 73-2-1; and
  • Make numerous changes to public worker pensions, including amendments to ensure the pension system remains financially stable for taxpayers and public workers (A-2461), sponsored by Oliver and DeCroce. It was approved 62-5-9.

“Now that we’ve laid the groundwork for pension reform, we must focus our attention on closing loopholes that have allowed people who were never intended to be part of the pension game and abuse the system,” said Wilson.

“We also must find a way to fund our pension obligations, or we will find ourselves in the same position in a very short period of time; the reforms we worked so hard to implement rendered all but meaningless,” said Fuentes.

The pension legislation was signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie during a public ceremony Monday evening in Trenton.

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