New Jersey Democrats pass state budget

    By: Phil Gregory

    New Jersey Democrats have pushed through a 29 billion dollar state budget that Governor Corzine will sign before Tuesday’s budget deadline.

    By: Phil Gregory
    philgregorynews@gmail.com

    New Jersey Democrats have pushed through a 29 billion dollar state budget that Governor Corzine will sign before Tuesday’s budget deadline. The spending plan relies on a one-shot boost of federal stimulus funds amounting to 2-and-a-quarter billion dollars, as well as more than 1 billion dollars in tax increases. An approved budget hasn’t stopped Trenton lawmakers from worrying about the state’s economic future.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090626pgpensions.mp3]

    Throughout the budget process, Republicans called for a reduction in spending and the size of government. Democrats said they’re hopeful the economy will improve and help boost revenues. Senate Majority leader Steve Sweeney says if that doesn’t happen changes will be needed in the state employee pension plan

    Sweeney: I envision a complete change and overhaul of the way we compensate our workers. We’re going to have to sit down with the unions, have an honest discussion, show them that we can’t sustain the pensions the way they’re set up and that we need to structure a new system of compensation.

    Sweeney says a tiered system may be needed, meaning new workers would not get the same benefits as long time employees. Without changes he says the pension system will eventually run out of money.

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