Early this week legislation sponsored by Senate President Sweeney that would divide the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) into two parts: a State PERS for state employees and a Local PERS for all other employees (S-3522) was considered and released by the Senate State Budget Committee. The bill now awaits consideration by the full Senate.
When analyzing the fiscal health of New Jersey’s public employee pension and benefit systems, it is imperative to make a distinction between the sufficiency of local governments’ commitments for local employees and retirees, and the status of those commitments that are the responsibility of State government.
According to outside experts and the latest valuation reports, the local government Public Employees Retirement System (local PERS) are actuarially more sound than the State, in large part due to the fact that municipalities and counties have made full contributions as required under the law for over two decade as have their employees. As of July 1, 2019 the Local Part of PERS is at a 67.4% fund ratio while the State is at 41.6%. While the proposed budget includes a full pension payment, this has not always been the case.
In 2019, local government employees comprised 295,240 active and retired members in the pension system to the 137,239 State government employees. But the nine-member board of trustees is comprised of only three local government employee representatives and no local government management representatives.
Please consider adopting the League's sample resolution expressing support and reach out to your Senator and Assembly Representatives urging them to support this legislation to preserve the structure and integrity of the more solvent local part of the PERS.
Contact: Lori Buckelew, Assistant Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, 609-695-3481, x112.