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A cap on police and fire salary increases in interest arbitration cases will expire at the end of the year unless it is renewed by the Legislature and governor. The New Jersey State League of Municipalities, which represents all 565 of the state’s municipalities, argues that if the cap isn’t renewed, it will put further upward pressure on the state’s highest-in-the-nation property taxes and force reductions in municipal services. The state Policemen’s Benovolent Association argues that the cap isn’t necessary and that contract settlements should be negotiated between towns and local unions, not bound by an arbitrary cap. State PBA president Pat Colligan and League executive director Michael Darcy offered their differing perspectives on the cap in a Q&A

Click Here to Read Complete Interview

EDISON – New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Colligan today released the following statement on Governor Christie’s proposal in his Budget Address to dedicate lottery funds to help fund the state’s pension obligation:

“Governor Christie’s proposal today is a good first step for our members.  We recognize that the Budget Address is a launching point for negotiation between the Governor and the Legislature, but we believe the dedication of lottery funds to help meet the State’s pension funding obligation is a start.  We look forward to the state fulfilling its long-standing obligation to fund the PFRS and providing our 33,000 members the pensions they have earned.”

(Woodbridge, NJ - June 9, 2016)- Today the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that Governor Chris Christie was within his authority to take away cost of living adjustments from retirees.   The pension adjustments based on inflation, commonly known as COLA, were stripped away from retirees by Governor Christie in 2011.

“NJSPBA members agree that state government needs to be concerned with fiscal responsibility, especially when dealing with unfunded pension liabilities.  But the reality is that retired law enforcement officers and fire fighters held up their end of the pension agreement.  These former officers didn’t skip pension contributions, while the state continues to skip or underfund their responsibility.  An actuarial analysis of PFRS found that the state’s actual contributions to PFRS have averaged only 60% of what the state was required to pay since 1998.
 
“New Jersey’s pension system is not one monolithic fund that is losing money daily.  In fact, the State manages five pension plans for State and local employees.  Of those five, the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS) is financed mainly by local governments, law enforcement officers and firefighters who have been making their required pension payments.  The current funded level of the local portion of PFRS is near 80% and far ahead of the other pension systems.
 
“The NJSPBA believes that an honest discussion on pension funding and the health of the State’s pension system will show the pension system that police officers and fire fighters rely on for their retirement, PFRS, is financially stable and positioned to succeed if required payments are made moving forward.
 
Retired law enforcement officers were stripped of annual cost of living increases by Governor Christie in 2011.  These retired officers are living on fixed incomes and approximately 80% do not receive social security benefits.  The burden caused by the state skipping pension payments should not fall on the backs of our retirees.  We need a full-time governor moving forward to deal with the state’s growing problem with regard to unfunded pension liabilities.”

This is a must read! Phil Murphy is certainly beyond qualified to comment on this issue and offer some expert advice to our NJ Division of Pension Investment Managers. 

Read Article Here

Post Retirement Employment Restrictions:

The New Jersey State PBA has received the latest fact sheet regarding post retirement employment restrictions.  Fact sheet 86 (August 2015) does a good job informing our members of the many restrictions that pertain to post retirement employment.    The pension benefits that our members receive are governed by New Jersey Statutes as well as the Internal Revenue Code.  Our pensions are considered a qualified governmental defined benefit plan in accordance with Internal Revenue Code sections 401(a) and 414(d).  In order for the State of New Jersey to keep the qualified status and to protect retirees from a 10% early distribution tax penalty on monthly pensions, the Division of Pensions was required to adopt and enforce the regulations and compliance with the IRC requirements.

The Fact Sheet has confirmed what we have been advising our members;  if you return to work with the same employer in any capacity, the member would need to have a bona fide separation of service of 180 days. The Division of Pensions has done a good job explaining and using examples of what members of the pension system can and can not do. They also clearly inform our members of the penalties that we are subject to should our members violate the IRC/Pension restrictions.

This is the most frequently asked question we get at the NJSPBA office, so take a few moments to familiarize yourself with this fact sheet.  As always, if you have questions regarding this fact sheet please call or email me at the New Jersey State PBA Office.

Thanks,
Peter Andreyev
NJSPBA Pension Consultant

Click Here for Fact Sheet #86

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