New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech expressed the federation’s support for a proposal by the state’s Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto calling on Gov. Chris Christie to make the state’s annual pension payment at the start of the fiscal year, rather than waiting until the end of the year.
Front-loading the payment would net the pension system an estimated $87 million in additional income by allowing the investment more time to grow. The front-loading of investments is standard practice throughout corporate America. Since it doesn’t raise taxes, there is no good reason for the governor not to do it.
“We are grateful to our Democratic legislative leaders, Senate President Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Prieto, for continuing to fight on behalf of this state’s 800,000 active and retired public-sector workers,” said Wowkanech, who represents 1 million union members and their families. “While this proposal will not solve our pension crisis, we have to do whatever we can—even if it’s a little bit here, a little bit there—to help restore the pension system to fiscal health.”
It also makes sound fiscal sense for New Jersey to make future pension payments on a quarterly basis and to commit to applying any unanticipated revenue to the pension system.
“It’s important to remember that the pension system was fully funded as recently as 15 years ago,” added Wowkanech. “We can and must work together with our elected leaders to get the system back to where it was—so that benefits will be there for future retirees.”