"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Codey: State Pensions, Benefits "Strangling" New Jersey Taxpayers

New Jersey's finances are in such a mess that even Acting Governor Codey is admitting it will take years to put the state back on solid footing. What is a major cause of our State budget nightmare?

Codey puts a lot of blame on generous pension and benefit packages for state employees and retired teachers that squeeze New Jersey's budgets. If anything, we've got to pull back from these entitlements that are strangling the taxpayers of New Jersey.
The tax receivers will be out in force pressuring the Democrats to maintain the status quo and to place their interests above all others and especially above the taxpayer’s. State and local government can not continue the lavish spending on government employee benefits and retirement packages.

Why should people that can’t afford to pay for their own health care insurance or to fund their retirement be forced to pay for benefits not available in even the most generous private sector programs?

The fall back position of tax “the rich, aside from being unfair, is not a long term solution to covering these escalating costs. There are not enough “rich” taxpayers to soak and rich is currently defined as those making $70,000 a year.

The $2.2 billion annual state price tag for teacher and public employee health insurance and retirement benefits is expected to triple in just five years. At the current pace, those costs will soar to $6.7 billion by the time the state budget is drafted in 2009, and account for more than one-fifth of all state spending.

Make your voice heard and tell your State Senator and Assemblyman to take action now. If they fail to act on behalf of the taxpayers, we do have the power to elect replacements this November that will understand their job and will act on their responsibilities.

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At 3:02 PM, Anonymous christoto1@comcast.net said...

I think the first major step in reforming NJ political status quo is to abolish the idea that elective and appointive political office is a suitable life long career pursuit. It's important for government leaders to "earn their bones" in private society first, to gain the experience and perspective before they can expect to serve the public interest via public service. Public service should be a temporary pursuit, for when private citizens who have achieved a successful private life, have a surplus in wisdom and discretionary time to invest in furthering the public interest.

The first substantive way to do this would be to eliminate all retirement pension and (retirement) health care funding for elected and appointed government officials. Such benefits should be earned in private, voluntary society. The primary interest of such officials should be in furthering the public interest, not in feather-bedding their own nests at the expense of the commonwealth.

Such a reformed government could more fairly compare public civil service pensions with norms in private society. One immediate reform should be for local public school districts to integrate all teacher benefits in one place in their budgets instead of hiding them in separate categories from salary, or not publishing them at all. Such school board budget practices seem intended to deliberately make it more difficult for local taxpayers to compare public school teachers' benefits with private market custom. Another reform might be to require all school districts that receive more than 10% of their budgeets from out of district sources to have popularly elected school boards instead of politically appointed. Yet another might be to have all non-teacher personnell and contractors be hired and payed by County Boards of Ed, instead of local school districts.

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At 1:59 PM, Anonymous Hiram said...

Thanks for this article, really worthwhile material.


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