The Governor announced today that he is forming a “non-partisan” independent study commission to analyze the pension system and to make further recommendations for pension cuts. The group, whose membership was not announced, will be tasked with looking at pension and health benefit management in other States and in the private sector. It is likely that this group will be handpicked to provide an “outsider” stamp for the Governor’s recent demand that further benefit cuts are necessary.
PBA members will remember that in 2004 then Governor Codey appointed an independent study commission known as the “Murphy Commission” who, in addition to calling for some pension changes, found that the single most important factor in strengthening the pension fund is for government to make 100% of its payments. Ten years later, and billions lost in government contributions and investment gains from it, and the same failure to make a full pension payments remains the greatest obstacle for the growth of the pension fund.
The State PBA will be carefully monitoring the situation and will be prepared to challenge the “expert” commission’s findings and we are prepared to utilize the results and advice from our own actuary study due out in August. What is certain is that PFRS remains a healthy, economically sound pension fund and there is little need to further erode benefits for New Jersey’s law enforcement community.