O’Scanlon: “Without reforms, New Jersey faces a bleak fiscal future”

DeclanNew Jersey voters will not get to vote on a constitutional amendment requiring specific payments to the underfunded public employee pension system in November.  Despite, or perhaps because of, the NJEA’s threat to withhold campaign contributions to Democrats unless the state Senate voted to put the measure on the ballot, Senate President Steve Sweeney did not post the resolution for a vote and the deadline to make the ballot passed yesterday.

Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, the Republican Budget Officer in the lower house and a representative of the 13th legislative district (northern Monmouth County) issued the following statement regarding New Jersey’s ongoing fiscal crisis:

“The passage of the fatally flawed amendment would have been a disaster for the taxpayers of New Jersey as well as those who depend on state services.  Even a slight economic downturn could have proven disastrous.  We also would have faced instant credit downgrades as insolvency and short term borrowing default would have been real possibilities – perhaps even likely.

But this victory doesn’t mean the job is done. We still have an obligation to our dedicated public workers.  We still have to fix our overall budget issues so we can afford to continue to make pension payments – without crushing taxpayers.  The three bill package I have introduced would do just that.  I stand ready to begin work today with my fellow legislators and union representatives to arrive at a final package we can all endorse.

But mark my words – without reforms NJ faces a bleak fiscal future.  No one will be unscathed – union workers would face layoffs and pension cuts and taxpayers would face huge increases in their already heavy burden. Every area of state funding would face a slow but certain strangulation.  New Jersey’s economy would be terminally stifled – which hurts everyone.  Every day we wait to take action makes the inevitable job more difficult, and more painful.  If we fail to take advantage of this rare moment in history – when we have a firm understanding of our challenges and a detailed package of reforms that will enable us to meet those challenges – we will have epically failed indeed.  We can’t let this opportunity slip by.  Every stakeholder must come to the table with an open mind. To fail to do so will fail the very people we each pledged to serve.”

Posted: August 9th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: 13th Legislative District, Declan O'Scanlon, Monmouth County News | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments »

5 Comments on “O’Scanlon: “Without reforms, New Jersey faces a bleak fiscal future””

  1. Shame on You Declan!! said at 12:31 pm on August 9th, 2016:

    Let the voters have the final say PERIOD!! It seems politician’s like Declan O’Scanlon are truly afraid that the voters will force the state to fund the pensions–as they should have all along. Failure to fund the pensions, along with politicians’ borrowing from these funds–and not replacing the proceeds, is what got us into this mess.

    Speaking of voting, why did Declan not vote against the 23 cent a gallon tax hike?? What the hell do we pay him for?? His failure to vote against the tax hike is a vote for the tax hike.

    Declan, along with the other Monmouth County Assembly people (Rible, Kean, Clifton) need to be voted out!!

  2. Steve Adams said at 1:46 pm on August 9th, 2016:

    Declan has been a real advocate for NJ taxpayers.
    About the current pension system… It’s time to end it. NJ can hire employees without promising outrageous benefits packages that bear no resemblance to the private sector taxpayers benefits.
    There are often hundreds of applications for every public job. That alone proves there is an imbalance in the free market, and that taxpayers are paying too much for government services.

  3. @Steve Adams said at 2:11 pm on August 9th, 2016:

    It’s funny Steve, you claim Declan is a “real advocate for NJ taxpayers,” yet, you never said anything about his failure to vote against the 23 cent a gallon tax increase on gas.

    Nor has he spoken against Christie hiring people in made up jobs like Drewniak at NJ Transit and Wildstein at the Port Authority.

    Hasn’t spoken out against the 5 year toll increases at the Port Authority, and 95 fare hike at NJ Transit

    Hasn’t spoken out against the climbing bill taxpayers have to foot for the phony investigation exonerating the governor for Bridgegate. What’s up to now…10 million??

    Yeah, I hear you Steve, Declan O’Scanlon looks out for the taxpayer. Do you also believe in the Easter Bunny???

  4. Tom Stokes said at 4:45 pm on August 9th, 2016:

    The Public Employee Pension system needs to overhaul the disability retirement – in order to be approved for a disability retirement, one should be required to be approved for a Social Security Disability; in effect, truly disabled.

    As it is right now, one could retire on an “Ordinary Disability”, receive pension and lifetime health insurance and go to work and negotiate witrh their new employer for a higher salary as they would not need the new employer’s health benefits.

    Retirement health benefits should be limited to a secondary coverage after Medicare kicks in. That would also end the business of early retirement with full benefits which subsidize private employers who don’t need to provide health benefits to public employee retirees.

    There are several retirement plans, The Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS), the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS), the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF) and the Judicial Retirement System (JRS).

    All need to be reformed in terms of length of service to qualify for retirement as well as when retirement health benefits will begin (when eligible for Medicare benefits). Also, all pensions should be capped at a maximum (say $50,000 annually) to avoid fiscal insolvency.

    In order to make these funds fiscally sustainable, payments by the workers should be increased appropriately (PERS, for example, should be at least 10% of workers’ earnings).

    And yes, the state must start being responsible for what they promised workers when they were hired. Proper funding of a reformed system must be made mandatory so no politician, regardless of party, will continue to abuse the system.

    Thoughts for discussion.

  5. How about CUTS? said at 10:20 am on August 10th, 2016:

    That never seems to be a part of overall budget discussions, in this state. The more they increase every blasted social program, with no purge of expensive programs that are too top- heavy in personnel, and yield very little in positive results: every social program and giveaway should face a zero- budget test, every year, being forced to prove actual function and result, or, it’s done, cut. People who run these programs have to stop assuming their ” funding”- read, our money- will pour through again, every year. All of them should be hired on a temporary basis- when it’s money is depleted, move on! But,these disingenuous legislators do not have the guts to tell anybody “NO!” God forbid they lose one vote, over doing what is better for our fiscal well- being!