How New Jersey could funnel lottery revenues to pay pension debt

 New Jersey state capitol building in Trenton. (NewsWorks file photo)

New Jersey state capitol building in Trenton. (NewsWorks file photo)

In February, Governor Christie proposed using revenues from the New Jersey lottery to shore up the state’s pension system. An administration official is now providing some details.

State Treasurer Ford Scudder said the lottery enterprise would be placed into the public employee pension system.

“You would still be buying the same lottery tickets. The retailer would still be getting their commission for sales. It would still be a division within Treasury. It would still be directed by the state Lottery Commission. It would just be owned by the pension system.”

Scudder said the education and human services programs now funded by the lottery would still be financed through the state’s general fund.

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“While the general fund would be losing revenues from the lottery it would also be losing the liability because we would have a decreased pension payment on an annual basis because we would have a lower unfunded liability. So, while revenues would be down so would appropriations and that would approximately wash out.”

Assembly Budget Committee chairman Gary Schaer has some questions about the proposal.

“Right now proceeds from the lottery go to many specific items, some of them written into law. We’d have to get a better understanding of that.”

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