With no debate, the New Jersey Senate and Assembly unanimously passed a bill requiring the state to make quarterly payments into the public employee pension fund.
Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto said quarterly payments would ensure the state makes its pension contributions — unlike the past when adequate funds haven’t been available at the end of a fiscal year.
“Something happens, and the money doesn’t get dropped in,” said Prieto, D-Hudson. “That’s been historically what has happened. It’s been the low-hanging fruit in the budget. Then the money doesn’t make it in. That’s a bad thing.”
Gov. Chris Christie has twice before vetoed similar measures approved by lawmakers, but Senate President Steve Sweeney is confident he’ll sign this one.
Gains from pension system investments should more than make up for the costs of borrowing to make the quarterly payments, said Sweeney, D-Gloucester.
“By not putting it in until the very last thing you pay the end of the year, you make zero interest dollars on that money. This year, we would have made over $100 million,” he said. “So, if you subtract what the borrowing costs would be, you’d probably be net $90 million. And once we ramp up to our full payment, we’ll be an additional $200 million a year.”