TRENTON – A state senator has followed up on the Supreme Court’s ruling regarding judicial pensions with a novel request: He wants the state to collect pension contributions he believes are owed as a result of the decision.
Sen. Sam Thompson, (R-12), Old Bridge, sent a letter to the Treasury Department today requesting that it collect what he said are “unpaid contributions’’ by judges into the pension system.
Earlier this week, the state Supreme Court ruled in favor of judges who argued that the state’s attempt to require increased pension contributions amounted to an unconstitutional meddling with their salaries.
As a result, the Legislature is fast-tracking a proposed constitutional amendment for a vote Monday that would allow voters to weigh in and decide whether judges should be forced to pay more into the public pension system.
In the meantime, Thompson believes there is something else that can be done as well.
In his letter to the Treasury, he stated that in order for the court to reach the conclusion that pensions are part of salaries, it must follow that for years judges have been underpaying into their pensions.
He pointed to statutes that specified judges shall pay 3 percent of their salary toward pensions, and said that was based on the idea that salary was only wages.
“In accordance with the Supreme Court’s definition, members should have been contributing initially 3 percent and subsequently 4.5 percent not only of their wages but also similar percentages of the increased value of their pensions with each additional year of service,’’ he said in the letter.
As a result, he requested Treasury initiate action to collect unpaid contributions.