Sen. Joseph Pennacchio (R-26), of Montville, who sits on the Senate Budget Committee, hailed a report Thursday from the state Treasury Department’s Investment Division that found the value of the state’s pensions funds increased by 15 percent, thanks to a booming stock market.
As a result, he urged members of both the state Assembly and state Senate to take action on Gov. Chris Christie’s proposals to reform the pension and health insurance systems, in order for the governor to make a $500 million deposit to the state’s pension funds. In his budget address, Christie said he would make the deposit under the condition that the Legislature adopt his “tool kit” measures.
“It is clear that the state’s seven pension funds and the health benefits system are in need of significant reform,” he said in a statement. “Without reform the unfunded liabilities to the funds could triple. In short order, state’s contribution to the pension and health benefits funds might even overtake education aid as the single largest state expenditure.
“The $500 million Gov. Christie promised to deposit into the pension funds, would, if banked today, have a value-added effect on the health of the pension systems,” he said. “The additional dividends earned could have a considerable positive effect on the solvency of our systems. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to encourage the legislative leadership to adopt balanced and responsible reforms as soon as possible to take advantage of this opportunity.”