NJ towns granted relief from payments to state worker pensions

    By: Monica Miller

    The New Jersey Legislature has approved a bill that will let towns and school postpone about half their payments to the state’s public employee pension system. Some lawmakers say it will drive up the cost of living in the Garden State.

    By: Monica Miller

    The New Jersey Legislature has approved a bill that will let towns and school postpone about half their payments to the state’s public employee pension system. Some lawmakers say it will drive up the cost of living in the Garden State.

    Transcript:
    The bill would allow towns and schools to make half their required payments into New Jersey’s pension system due April 1. However, Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. says members of the Republican caucus think it’s a gimmick that will take millions of dollars out of taxpayers’ pockets.

    Kean, Jr.: “It will cost property taxpayers roughly $400 million in the upcoming year in additional costs if towns pursue this opportunity.”

    But mayors say like Tim McDonough of Hope Township say the economic crisis is forcing some municipalities and schools to take drastic measures to get back on the road to solvent ground.

    McDonough: “Hopefully, the economy is starting to turn around. It’s starting to show signs of that. It’ll be easier to do next year and pay it back.”

    The pension system provides retirement benefits to police, fire and public employees.

    Governor Corzine originally wanted a three-year deferral, but is expected to sign the compromise bill the Assembly and Senate approved Monday.

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    [audio: reports20090317njtowns.mp3]

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