Our analysis of the effects of the pension and health benefits crisis on local budgets (“Corrections Of Pension Errors” or COPE REPORT), along with the Executive Summary can be read here. Public employee pensions and health benefits are one of the major causes of rising local costs. Building on the work of former Governor Codey’s Benefit Review Task Force, which was submitted to the Governor on November 21, 2005, the League analysis supplements the Task Force’s findings with some additional recommendations for pension and benefit reform.
Our goal in this remains to ensure fairness and equity among all employees in all State administered pension systems. As you are well aware, the most significant problem for local employers is with the Police and Firemen’s Pension System (PFRS). The deficit for local governments in the Public Employees’ Pension System (PERS) is less significant, because past legislatures have worked with us to ensure adequate funding for reasonable retirement benefits.
This analysis is not intended as a critique of the Task Force report. Rather, it is meant to supplement the report and to clarify the nature and scope of the pension and benefit problem, as it effects local government.
We have already shared this with Governor Corzine’s senior staff. And we have transmitted our analysis to the Legislative Leadership. We sincerely hope that State level policy makers will carefully consider our recommendations. We have looked at New Jersey’s long and short term pension and benefit problems. And our recommendations build on what has worked in the private sector and in other states.
Please keep this report in mind as, in the coming months, Governor Corzine and the Legislature propose reforms to our State’s public employee pension and benefit systems.