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(TRENTON) — Assembly Appropriations Chairwoman Nellie Pou (D-Passaic/Bergen), who co-chaired the 2006 Joint Legislative Committee on Public Employee Benefits Reform, released the following statement Thursday as the Assembly Budget Committee heard testimony on the status of the state’s various pension systems:

“What we’ve heard today makes it clearer than ever before that our system has become unsustainable for both taxpayers and public workers. Reform is a must.

“Without change, taxpayers will suffer and benefits for teachers, policeman, firefighters and other public workers will be at risk.

“We need a system that is fair to taxpayers and public workers alike, but we also need to make sure we do this right and have all questions answered.

“We don’t, for example, want to discourage local governments and schools from looking to help relieve property taxpayers by sharing part-time workers.

“Our goal, when all is said and done, is to create a system that provides much-needed relief to our taxpayers while providing fair benefits for public workers.

“And the time for blame is over. All sides – including Gov. Christie and public workers – should be welcoming this thorough debate and bringing ideas to the table so they can be part of a successful solution.”

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