State PBA Responds to
Gloomy Pension Report
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
The New Jersey Police and Fire Pension
fund took a hit over the past year despite the increase in individual
contributions imposed by Governor Chris Christie.
From the Associated Press:
Actuarial reports show the funds
had significantly lower-than-expected investment returns, and lost
additional ground because the state paid one-seventh of its
contribution to the system for the fiscal year that ended June 30,
2012. As a result, the gap between the system's assets and eventual
liabilities grew by $5.5 billion, or 3 percent.
The State Office of the New Jersey State
PBA issued a statement responding to the report. From PBA
President Anthony Wieners:
“Today’s announcement by the
Actuary for the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS) that
the value of the pension fund had dropped in 2012 is a cause for
serious frustration by the members of the New Jersey State PBA.
Police officers, both active and retired, made a commitment to
ensure our pensions were secure under the guise of shared sacrifice,
but politicians have again shortchanged the retirement system.
The passage of Chapter 78 was
heralded as the saving of the pension fund. Yet the decrease in the
value of PFRS appears to stem from the same poor decisions that
damaged the system starting a decade ago.
PBA members are now contributing
10% toward their pension, nearly the highest in the nation, and
retired officers have seen their cost of living adjustment (COLA)
eliminated. But rather than place the money back into the pension
system to boost its value, the State has cut the contributions into
the system for local governments and has risked $200 million in
pension funds by investing in the soon to be bankrupt Revel Casino.
The PFRS actuaries and even Legislators who supported Chapter 78 all
agree that one of the main causes of losses in pension value was the
skipping pension payments and granting of pension holidays to local
governments of more than $2 billion in the last decade.
Relieving local governments of
their lawful obligation on the backs of active and retired law
enforcement to fund the Normal Cost of PFRS as well as to pay back
what they skipped paying in the past has stripped value from PFRS
that is needed to move us forward. Politicians continue to push
their obligations off to future generations and jeopardize the
health of our pension system. Unlike the State and local government,
PBA members never skipped a pension payment. The actuaries report
gives many members pause to be concerned about more broken promises
from elected officials. Restoring the pension fund can’t just be a
one way street and government should not be allowed to take out the
extra funds that we put in to fix what the government broke in the