With all the picketing, legal saber-rattling, TV and radio ads, and political arm-twisting over the proposed pension changes, how's the average Jersey Joe and Jane supposed to stay in the know?
This is "inside baseball" at its best. So it's important the daily newspapers distill the facts for readers.
Credit The Record for its Sunday series which went a long way towards reminding us how the State got into this hole — while sorting out what's now at the heart of the current pension reform controversy.
Still, there are a few questions we'd like the media to ask…
Of the unions: If the state's healthcare and pension funds have a $75 billion-plus shortfall and recent reforms are only in the hundreds-of-millions-of-dollar range, how exactly is the state going to pay this tab without changing the rules for new employees — particularly when state and local workers now earn more in benefits and contribute the least as compared to most other states.
Of legislators: If as reported by The Record, all appointed and elected officials would now have to work 20 hours a week to join the health system, who is going to keep track of their weekly time sheets? The voters?
And of the governor: The governor told The Record's editorial board on Tuesday "that in the 2007 negotiations with state labor unions, his administration saved $6.4 billion through 2022." But isn't that the annual savings the state should start to realize in the year 2022 – and wasn't that before the healthcare giveback? The real question is how much are the net savings projected for next fiscal year, after the negotiated 3 percent salary increase?