Unions press N.J. lawmakers to put pension payment measure to voters

(Eric1513/Bigstock)

(Eric1513/Bigstock)

Unions are pressuring New Jersey’s Senate to act so that voters can decide on a proposed constitutional amendment forcing the state to make quarterly payments into the public employee pension system.

Hetty Rosenstein, New Jersey director of the Communications Workers of America union, said time is running out to get the amendment on the November ballot.

“If it’s not done by the 8th, it cannot go up in November. It doesn’t mean it won’t happen, but it won’t happen in 2016,” she said. “Every day that is spent without meeting those commitments is a risk and costs billions of dollars in the long run.”

New Jersey Education Association President Wendell Steinhauer said it’s time for lawmakers to act to ensure the solvency of the pension system.

“This has been 20 years in the making of promises unkept. We’ve gone through all the promises, all the gimmicks. This is it,” he said. “It’s time for the constitutional amendment to be passed so the voters can decide on what’s the right thing to do.’

Senate President Steve Sweeney said the Senate won’t vote on the amendment until there’s an agreement on a plan to renew the Transportation Trust Fund that would ensure the state has the revenue to make mandated pension payments.

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