TRENTON – Steve Lonegan’s conservative group, Americans for Prosperity Foundation, came out with a report calling for reforms that would put more power in citizens’ hopes that could help circumvent special interest group influences.
Vincent Vernuccio, a labor attorney with the Competitive Enterprise Institute who wrote a white paper for AFP, said today New Jersey is trapped in a “vicious circle” where influential public worker unions make financial contributions to politicians and vice versa.
Such relationships often lead to concessions and exorbitant costs in salaries and benefits, he said. The unfunded pension liabilities, he said, are about $110 billion.
“You (the taxpayer) are stuck footing the bill at the end of the day,” he said.
While he called recent legislation requiring public workers to make larger contributions toward their pension and health benefits a good first step, he said the state should go further.
“We still have a long way to go.”
The group called for changing the retirement pension plan to a 401k plan.
Other measures the group called for:
*Giving public workers the right to a secret ballot in union elections.
*Eliminating Project labor, or “prehire” agreements, which they estimate drive up costs some 30 percent and end up making projects longer to complete.
*Allowing school choice and passing the Opportunity Scholarship Act.