News from The Senate Democrats
A TALE OF TWO CHRISTIE’S
Gov Love For Pension Reform Lasted Until Reelection
TRENTON – Before he was reelected, Chris Christie couldn’t say enough about how wonderful the pension reforms he signed into law were. On countless occasions he used pension reform to bolster his image and as a citation for bipartisan accomplishments. But now that he is working to build a national profile – and possibly distract from a few other things – he suddenly decides the reforms were not good enough.
But don’t just take our word for it. Here is some of the praise from Christie himself:
“As a result of Democrats and Republicans coming together to confront the tough issues, we are providing a sustainable future for our pension and health benefit system, saving New Jersey taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars and securing a fiscally responsible future for our state.” (Gov. Chris Christie’s Office, June 20, 2011 press release)
“The reforms will ensure long-term solvency, while slowing the rapid growth of government costs, spending and taxes that have overwhelmed taxpayers.” (Gov. Chris Christie’s Office, June 23, 2011 press release)
“What this legislation will do is simply to save the pension system for all those retirees and public employees who are counting on that retirement. It will save and protect the taxpayer and it will restore choice and fairness to a public sector system that had run completely out of control.” (June 15, 2011 speech to Employer Legislative Committees State Dinner)
“The pensions of every state worker, of every teacher, and of every retired municipal employee are more secure today. By the tough choices we made together, we saved their pensions.” (State of the State Address, January 17, 2012)
“They said it was impossible to touch the third rail of politics, to take on the public-sector unions and to reform a pension and health benefits system that was headed to bankruptcy. But with bipartisan leadership, we saved taxpayers $132 billion dollars over 30 years and saved retirees their pensions. We did it.” (Keynote address August 28, 2012 at GOP National Convention)
“Securing the future of New Jersey’s pension system to protect current and future retirees was a paramount goal of the bipartisan pension and health benefits reform legislation we successfully fought for last year. These reforms are not only saving the taxpayers of our state at least $132 billion over the next 30 years but, just as importantly, they are also ensuring that the pensions are protected for the hardworking men and women who are counting on them.” (Gov. Chris Christie’s Office, May 3, 2012 press release)
“We’ve taken historic, bipartisan action to fix a broken public pension system that would have been insolvent in a matter of years without bold intervention. This is a serious and significant new step to protect the integrity of the system and guard every taxpayer dollar and employee contribution from fraud and abuse.” (Gov. Chris Christie’s Office, August 07, 2013 press release)
MINI CONVENTION 2014
The main meeting room (Palladium Ballroom) is located on 2nd floor:
Reminder that all breakout rooms for Mini Convention will be located on 3rd floor of Caesars.
Vendors will now be located in room adjacent to Palladium Ballroom
Tues/Wed: 9am-1pm Bone Marrow Screening Tiberius Room (3rd floor)
Wednesday: 9am-2pm Health Screening Neptune Room (3rd floor)
Wednesday: after meeting to 2 pm Civil Service Spartacus Room (3rd floor)
TO: New Jersey State Health Benefit Plan Members
FROM: Kevin C. Lyons, Sr.
SUBJECT: Important Announcement – Free On-Site Health Screenings
DATE: February 18, 2014
Good news! As part of our commitment to the health and wellness of our members and their families, we are pleased to announce that we will be offering convenient, confidential health screenings, administered by Summit Health.
The employee health screening is a great assessment tool to help you determine your current health status. It takes approximately 15 minutes to complete all the screenings. Each employee has the opportunity to participate in an examination and receive immediate results.
The health screening includes the following exams:
No fasting is required for the screenings. The cholesterol and diabetes screenings are conducted with a single finger-stick, which draws a small amount of blood.
Important note: We take confidentiality very seriously. No information will be shared. The results will be given directly to you after the screening and then erased on the medical equipment.
The screening will take place on March 5, 2014 from 9:00 to 2:30 PM in the Poseidon Room at Caesars Atlantic City during the Mini-Convention. If you complete the screening and an online assessment at http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/pensions/njwell/main.shtml., by October 1, 2014 you will receive a $100.00 visa gift card. There will be representatives from both Horizon and Aetna for screenings.
To access the Summit Health Appointment Web site, please use the following URL.
Please Click Here To Access Summit Health Appointment Web Site
Or copy the following link:
If you are unable to schedule an appointment, walk-in appointments may be available on the day of the event, ask at the registration table.
Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
® Registered mark of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey.
BREAKING NEWS: For a VERY limited time, the PFRS mortgage program is OPEN for REFINANCE!!! Rate and term refinance ONLY (NO cash out).
As always, the program is open for ALL PURCHASE transactions as well. The current rate as of February 15, 2014 is 3.68% with 0 points.
This money will most likely run out VERY quick so ACT FAST!
Reminder that the 2014 Polar Bear Plunge is on Saturday, February 22, 2014 at Seaside Heights is next month on Saturday, February 22nd at Seaside Heights.
The NJ State PBA has a long history of being a top sponsor and our members have proudly made us the #1 participating group in the Plunge.
Please register on link below and support the Special Olympics of NJ.
Chapter 78 COLA lawsuit argument
As we have previously reported to our membership, the Chapter 78 COLA lawsuit arguments will be heard before the appellate Court on
January 28, 2014 at the Middlesex County Courthouse.
The New Jersey State PBA is deeply concerned with the COLA issue and the impact that the outcome will have on our current and future retirees. The PBA will be represented before the court by our very competent attorneys from the Zazzali, Fagella, Nowak, Kleinbaum and Friedman Law Firm.
It has come to my attention that other organizations or associations have instructed their members to pack the Courtroom, the hallways and the entire courthouse to make the hearing an event for the media.
The New Jersey State PBA feels strongly that such conduct is not in the best interest of our members or the issue at hand. The media will not be deciding this case nor will judges be making decision based upon the demands of what could end up as an unruly crowd. Any distractions from the facts or show of disrespect for the proceedings could likely result in a negative outcome.
Therefore, I am requesting that our members NOT gather at the courthouse for the hearing and allow the proceedings be conducted in a professional and dignified atmosphere. Our response to the outcome of the case will be formulated upon receipt of the decision; we will keep you advised of any updates.
Below message from NAPO regarding TOP COPS Awards
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE
YOUR NOMINATIONS MAKE THE DIFFERENCE FOR TOP COPS®
This year will mark the 21st year NAPO has produced the TOP COPS Awards®. The ceremony will take place on Monday, May 12, 2014, again coinciding with Police Week. Over the next few months I will be asking for your assistance in three major areas in which you, our members, can help to ensure the success of TOP COPS®: nominations, sponsorships, and show attendance. Today, I want to ask for your assistance with the first and most fundamental component, nominations.
TOP COPS® is unique in that it is a peer nominated award. However, one of the greatest struggles we have faced in the past is getting the nomination form out to officers nationwide. I am asking you to assist us in making this happen. It is our goal this year to see all 50 states represented with a nominee. While we appreciate and welcome nominations from the executive level, we would really like to see the nomination form circulated among the members.
The nomination form can be downloaded from the NAPO website, www.napo.org, and if need be, we would also be happy to email you the form. Just send us an email to email@example.com with your request. Please feel free to duplicate and post it anywhere you feel it is appropriate. We would especially like to see forms posted in association offices and departments with the hope that your members will feel inclined to nominate the great cases/officers they have come into contact with over the past year. I would also like to ask you to consider including the nomination form, on your website, or as a hand out at your next meeting.
If you have other thoughts or ideas as to how to get the word out about this most worthwhile event, please let us know. With your help and partnership, I know that TOP COPS® will be a tremendous success!
DECEMBER 10, 2013 EDISON, NJ
The State PBA Executive Board and Board of Delegates today chose Keith Bennett, State Delegate of Atlantic City PBA Local 24 as its Official Endorsed Candidate for PFRS Trustee.
Nominations for this position are now being taken online at https://vote.election-america.com/NJPensions
Please log on and support KEITH BENNETT, the PBA Candidate for this position - handout
06 December 2013
Brothers and Sisters,
This afternoon, the State PBA Became aware that there has been a security breach at the Horizon offices in Newark, NJ wherein two laptops were stolen between November 1 and 3, 2013. We have very preliminary information on this matter and it is our understanding that there was potentially information on 10,000 members of the SHBP and the SEHBP including social security numbers stored on the laptops.
It is our understanding that Horizon is contacting every potentially affected member via mail.
Here is correspondence from the Division of Pension and Benefits on the matter and I have attached a sample letter that is going out to the affected members. It is my understanding at this time that the breach is not the result of actions of the division, but rather the vendor, Horizon.
Please monitor the Horizon and SHBP web sites as well as NJSPBA.com.
Kevin C. Lyons, Sr.
PFRS Mortgage Loan Rate eff. 8/15/13 is now 3.64%
Active members of the New Jersey Police and Firefighter Retirement System (PFRS) with one year of creditable service are eligible for this program.
Members may buy a home (first-time or trade-up). Maximum mortgage amount is $417,000. Interest rate is 30 year fixed. Program rates are set semi-annually in February and August.
Effective August 15, 2009, funding is only available for First-Time Homebuyers and Trade-Up Buyers.
There is no funding available for refinances.
NJ State Health Benefits Committee Approves substantial Rate Increases
In a 3-2 vote (labor dissenting) the State Health Benefits Committee approved substantial rate increases for all plans overseen by them.
The increases came despite protest and a flurry of questions toward the amount the state, at the recommendation of Aon Hewitt
(the actuarial firm who is awarded its contract by the state treasurer) is holding in reserve.
While excess reserves will come back in future years as funds to stabilize future rates, it is basically done on an objective basis.
The actuary also made a statement that the claims had dropped last year but that the drop was due to Sandy.
Local Government Increases
These rate increases assume a claim trend increase across the medical plans as listed in the chart below.
These trends are based in the cost of health care inflation which traditionally is much greater than the normal inflation measurements that we see in the media……. download the full report here