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August 4, 2014

Re:  A. Weekly Summer Update
         I.  Governor Creates New Jersey Pension and Health Benefit Study Commission
         II. League Submits COAH comments

Dear Mayor:

This week we are sending you the Weekly update a day early due to two significant developments.

I. Governor Creates New Jersey Pension and Health Benefit Study Commission
On Friday, Governor Christie signed Executive Order 161 creating a non-partisan “New Jersey Pension and Health Benefit Study Commission” of, at least, five members.  The study commission will have 30 days after organizing to provide the Governor a report of their findings and recommendations and will expire after the completion of the report.  The members will be appointed and serve at the pleasure of Governor Christie.   A copy of the Executive Order is online at: www.state.nj.us/infobank/circular/eocc161.pdf

The Study Commission is charged with making recommendations regarding:

(1) The goals and criteria for a sustainable retirement and health benefit system that recognizes the State’s desire to attract and retain a highly skilled workforce;
(2) Courses of action concerning plan design changes to current pension and health benefits; and
(3) Funding policies for the pension and health benefit systems that will have a high likelihood of allowing the State to achieve these goals.

The Study Commission is charged with examining:

(1) The history of the State’s existing pension and health benefit systems in order to understand what has put the systems in their current state;
(2) Reform by other government entities;
(3) Pension and health benefits provided in the private sector; and
(4) Other factors it deems relevant in order to develop its recommendations involving pension and health benefit reforms that will strengthen the systems’ financial standing with less cost to the taxpayers while providing public employees and retirees with an appropriate level of benefits.

The Study Commission’s recommendations must include:

(1) Estimates of future benefit payments, expenses, investment returns, funded status and funding requirements of the pension and health benefit system, including the impact of funding requirements on the State’s budget, using estimates that the Study Commission deems appropriate;
(2) An examination of the competitiveness of the pension programs within a total compensation perspective available to participants in the plans compared to similarly situated employees and to New Jersey residents working in the private sector; and
(3) Necessary constitutional, legislative and regulatory actions required to implement the proposed changes.

The Study Commission must also evaluate and consider the research that the Division of Pensions and Benefits has undertaken to devise solutions to the challenges facing the pension and health benefit system.

The League is monitoring this issue and will continue to keep you apprised of the Study Commission. 

Contact: Lori Buckelew, 609-695-3481 x 112 or lbuckelew@njslom.com.

II. League Submits COAH comments
Late last week, the League submitted its comments on the proposed COAH affordable housing regulations. COAH is expected to adopt regulations at its October meeting and the regulations will be effective upon publication in the November 17 Register.

The League’s comments are posted at: http://njslom.org/documents/NJLM_comments_73114.pdf

Contact: Mike Cerra, 609-695-3481x120 or mcerra@njslom.com

Very truly yours,

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

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