Saturday, September 02, 2006

Are Pensions The Problem?

From the Asbury Park Press:

Tax cuts difficult, but Corzine remains confident

A month into efforts to cut New Jersey's high property taxes, lawmakers are finding solutions hard to come by, but Gov. Corzine on Friday said he remains confident progress will be made.

Legislators have run into obstacles in the month since the governor jump-started the drive to cut the state's highest-in-the-nation property taxes:

They've been told they cannot cut pension benefits for most public government workers and that consolidating local governments wouldn't save much money.

A discussion about amending the state constitution incensed businesses worried they're going to be targeted for increased property taxes.
New Jersey's property taxes are twice the national average — at $6,000 per property owner — and have been increasing at a rate of 7 percent per year. Corzine wants to cut projected property tax growth by about 20 percent by 2010 and expects the panels that have been meeting this summer to devise recommendations by Nov. 15.

"I haven't seen one way or one recommendation to save money," said Sen. Ronald Rice, D-Essex, a member of a public worker benefits reform committee.

From the Randolph Reporter:

Pension costs hit Randolph

It’s time to pay the piper and municipalities, school districts and county governments are scrambling to make ends meet while also paying increasing state pension payments.

Local governments had been excused from paying pension costs for an eight year holiday as a way to help cut property taxes. But the holiday is over.

The primary problem facing officials is to meet pension obligations without raising taxes.
Lovell said the pension system has been used as a tool for tax relief for the last eight years now.

“Add to that the reality of Wall Street losses, and you can understand why we are facing the problems that are occurring today,” he said.

“The pension holiday was created specifically for tax relief,” said Lovell. “With that in mind, Randolph Township did not feel it should build surpluses in anticipation of future tax bills. So, when we were not required to pay into the pensions systems, we lowered, maintained, or controlled increases for local taxpayers.”

The “holiday” came when the state deferred local payments of annual pension contributions by public employers because the pension fund was financially sound.
Lovell said these costs, mandated by state law, are driving up local property taxes.

“Despite saying that, the township does carry a surplus and we do anticipate using some of those moneys to ease the increases in our operating costs,” said Lovell. “With the cost of providing services always increasing, it is nearly impossible to lower taxes without cutting services. Sometimes you have to cut services just to keep taxes the same. But I think it really hurts taxpayers if necessary increases are not kept to a bare minimum.”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

My brother-in-law, is an ex-cop from jersey city, never ever pulled his gun out of his holster, retired @ 51, and now 3 years later { automatic raises} gets a pension for 54,000 plus free healthcare with $1.oo copay for prescriptions.

They moved to Del. , he got a job, as a teacher, THEY LIVE LIKE KINGS , he will live to be 90, figure it out NJ, CORZINE,. He will make more retired than he ever did working.

You cannot beat the unions

9/01/2006 07:09:49 PM

Anonymous said...
My wife has two friends that were teachers, both retired @ 55 with full benes, and pensions over 50,000 ayear.



9/02/2006 07:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anen! anon amen!
but the if politicians kept their dirty hands out of the cookie jar we could afford this without tax increases. same with ss. it comes back to us and who we vote for. most of us dont have time to properly educate ourselves about our choices.

9/02/2006 08:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get a grip people. These people do jobs you won't stoop to, like raising your own children. Show me where you can "live like a king" on 50K a year in NNJ. Jealousy isn't very becoming.

9/02/2006 09:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now now, truth is
the rectum has been taken out
of nj by the pols.

they have sucked it dry.

kinda like a hoover.

9/02/2006 09:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem is that, they are taking their pensions to other states.

When ARM's reset their will be a mass exodus from nj anyway.

But who will leave first the businesses or the people.

I think teachers and cops pay is low, but their pensions are overdone, I have to work until 65 unlike government workers.

9/02/2006 10:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two things I see being misunderstood about public employees- 1- they pay into their own pensions- it is not solely paid by the state and 2- different systems have different rules. They may be retiring before 65 but they are not retiring with a full pension. They are penalzied for retiring early. And if you want to complain about a pension system, ask NYC why sanitation workers can retire after 20 years of work with a full pension, no penalties.
The reason why they're taking their pensions to other states is because they can actually afford to live there on that money. Do you really think these people want to leave their children and grandchildren hundreds or even thousands of miles away? No, they don't but they go because they have to be able to make ends meet.

9/02/2006 12:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I certainly agree with you but in my town , teachers' salaries are about 70% of the school budget.

They complain they are underpaid, we give them a 5% raise and full healthcare, which goes up another 8 %.

So our taxes go higher,and the town has to cut essential services.

Something must give, my boss gave everyone 2% increase across the board.

I love NJ what can I do???

My taxes are over 9,000.00 a year.

I cannot retire until I am 65, I have a friend that gleefully states she will retire @55. Yea she is a teacher, making about 79,000 plus benefits----It does not seem fair, although if her Dad was not connected 25 years ago she would not have gotten job.

Oh by the way, they are not leaving NJ, they own two houses in NJ, one down the shore.

9/02/2006 02:51:00 PM  
Blogger Clare said...

I am a teacher. I started out working in the private sector prior to becoming a teacher. When I left the private sector after only 2 years, I took a 10k pay cut to become a teacher. It has taken me 4 years and a masters degree to make the same salary that I did working for an insurance company. I made this switch for two reasons 1. Security (job/pension/benefits) and 2. Quality of life ( a job I enjoy/more time off). Life is about making decisions anybody can decide to pursue teaching, just accept the lower beginning salary in exchange for more job security. I used to get a 401 k match equivalent to 3% of my salary on top of 5% of my salary automatically put aside in some money purchase plan. Now I get no match for my 403B and a pension which I contribute about $280 a month for excluding july and august. Not to mention the $80 a month I contribute for the union, which really isn't a voluntary deduction if you want a peaceful work life. Do I regret the switch? No. Could I be making more money in the private sector? Absolutely. Would I have more stress and less free time in exchange for more money? Yes. I have the unique experience of working in both "the real world" and education. There are different stressors with each job, believe me dealing with 110 kids everyday isn't always easy. I've been called a whore and then delt with ridiculous parents who refuse to believe their child would ever say anything that rude. It is days like that where you really wonder if the job is worth it. However, most days are peaceful and most children are very sweet. I only bring up this example so that you realize it isn't always an easy job. The truth is I worked hard to get where I am, math isn't the easiest major. While I do love my job, without the job security and the pension it would not be worth it and I imagine it would be impossible to staff NJ's high schools with qualified teachers who possess both the academic knowledge and the people skills necessary to teach well. I really resent people who say it isn't fair that teachers get what they do.

9/03/2006 09:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Teaching does not equate to security. You can be downsized like any other employee.

Pension? Big deal. $50k/year? You can build that yourself with about $500k. Professionals can save that within a few years.

Retirement? NO ONE is retiring at 55 with a paltry 50k salary. Teacher rarely "retire" b/c they have given up the chance to bankroll massive gobs of money from the priv. sector. Most teachers have to keep working...after they "retire"

9/04/2006 01:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PS: Clare, where do you teach Math? I teach HS math in NY. send me an email at: Always good to share notes/tips/ideas.

9/04/2006 01:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am afraid to tell you, but studies have been done, and published in The Star Ledger, and other reputable papers.

Proving public employees make on average 20% more than private business employees, this does not take into account benefits.

You have to educate yourself on realities of the real world,underpaid teachers are a thing of the past.

Most private employees are retiring with SS and about 50,000 in their savings plan, probably because they are stuck paying high taxes, to part time teachers.

9/04/2006 06:15:00 PM  

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