Responding to the ridicule of teachers and the teaching profession by politicians and self proclaimed "experts"!
"Where is Albert Shanker now that we need him?" - Walt Sautter

Friday, 27 January 2012

Starved to Death – It’s Just a Matter of Time

Each year for the past twenty years the New Jersey Pension Plan has been unfunded or under funded. This was done under both  Democratic and Republican administrations (it started with Whitman).
“For more than a decade, the state legislatures and governors of both parties have overridden a law requiring full payments.” -  NJ.Com. 
I think violated or disobeyed better describes what has happened than   “overridden”.
Now with the arrival of Christie the contributions to the plan are again inadequate (despite promises and laws requiring full funding). The article below shows the current condition as still severely under funded and anticipating much less than full future payments.
What does this all add up to for current workers and future retirees?
 I sincerely believe the next move will be an effort to destroy TPAF and PERS. Serious attempts will be made, (I think successful attempts)  in the not too distant future, to replace both with defined contribution plans. (401K plans with limited matching  by the State – probably very limited). This has become a common practice in the private sector and it will soon come to the public sector. The cry will again be “if it’s good for the private sector then it must also be good for the public sector as well”.  (The private sector with its highly paid executives and continual outsourcing are the epitome of  American archetype!).
The current condition of  the New Jersey Pension System is cheered  by those who seek its destruction. They will readily justify its demise by pointing to the current shortfall and continued under funding which they have created  and continue to create.
I think it’s just a matter of time, a short time!

Attachment: Ranking of Pension Funds by State
News 12 Website Article

New Jersey (STONJ1)’s pension fund has only two-thirds of the assets needed to pay future benefits, and the gap widened even as Governor Chris Christie boosted employee contributions and froze raises, according to state data.

The seven retirement funds covering government workers and teachers had a funded ratio of 67.5 percent as of June 30, down from 70.5 percent a year earlier, according to data released yesterday by the Division of Pensions and Benefits. The deficit swelled by $5.5 billion during the 12 months to $41.8 billion.

To address chronic shortfalls, Christie in June signed bills that raised pension and health-care expenses for public workers, increased the minimum retirement age for new employees to 65 from 62 and froze cost-of-living increases.

Without Christie’s changes, the deficit would have been $61.8 billion, Andrew Pratt, a spokesman for Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff, said in an interview. “We always planned for that,” he said. “This is no surprise.”

The so-called unfunded liability stood at $53.9 billion before passage of Christie’s plan. After approval, the gap was lowered to $36.3 billion based on revised 30-year projections, Pratt said.

A 2010 law required the state to begin phasing in the full payments over seven years after a decade of lapsed funding. Christie this year has budgeted $484 million for a pension payment, according to the Treasury Department. Actuaries had recommended the state put in $3 billion. Pratt said 20 years of underfunding “magnified” the problem.

Moody’s Investors Service said a day after the pension law was signed that it wouldn’t help New Jersey until 2017 and that the health of the funds would “continue to deteriorate” as the state skipped payments. A 2010 law required the state to begin phasing in the full payments over seven years.

New Jersey’s pensions in 2010 had 66 percent of what was needed to pay promised benefits, down from 71.7 percent in the preceding year, according to an annual study by Bloomberg Rankings. The median for all states was 74.6 percent.


  1. Working for the public makes no sense. The public does not respect its workers or honor their commitments to them. The public wants service, but does not want to pay the workers who provide the services. Sad.

  2. You're exactly right JoAnn!
    It all goes back to the definition of "overpaid" - "You're making more than I am - or at least I think you are!"

  3. I've seen the hideous comments against teachers in the comments sections of the various online papers. Teachers are "overpaid," teachers have too rich benefits, teachers only work for 9 months, the NJEA is a bunch of thugs, blah, blah, blah, ad nauseam. It truly makes me sick. I am also sickened to think that Christie is still popular and could win a second term and totally destroy public education in NJ. He wants to kill the unions, destroy teacher tenure, seniority, pension benefits and health benefits. In other words, he wants to turn teachers into lower paid peons with no bargaining rights, no tenure, no seniority, no defined benefit pension and much lowered health benefits, if any at all. Yeah, that should improve education in NJ.....NOT!

  4. Below is the link to Bob Herbert's excellent op ed (titled "In America; Whitman Steals the Future) from 2-22-1995, about Whitman who really got the ball rolling in the non funding of the teacher pensions. The teachers, on the other hand, have been funding the pension for decades.


What do you think?