Fiscal task force sees significant challenges for N.J.

    A task force that analyzed New Jersey’s financial condition has come up with some general recommendations but is not offering specific fixes.

    The politically independent group says education, Medicaid, underfunded pension systems, and the costs of retiree health benefits will pose challenges for the state.

    Former state budget director Richard Keevey, who wrote the report, says it recommends ways of improving the budget process.

    “If you set money aside in a rainy day fund, that would help. If you make sure that you monitor the payment of pension systems, that would be good,” Keevey said. “If you budgeted federal dollars in a more displayed fashion, that would be good.”

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    Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, co-chair of the task force, says the Garden State is facing significant challenges.

    “There are pension problems here. There are problems in carrying out the federal mandates for Medicaid,” he said Thursday. “There are problems in infrastructure.”

    The report also suggests the state make multiyear forecasts of future budget needs and develop a strategy to fund critical infrastructure.

    There are no specific tax or spending recommendations, instead leaving those decisions up to the governor and the legislature.

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