New Jersey’s Pension Crisis: New Research

Eileen Norcross and Andrew Biggs have a new paper out this morning entitled “The Crisis in Public Sector Pension Plans: A Blueprint for Reform in New Jersey.” While it’s focused on New Jersey, it does an excellent job of outlining the larger problem with state pension plans nationwide and what policy makers can do about it.

Here’s the abstract:

New Jersey’s defined benefit pension systems are underfunded by more than $170 billion, an amount equivalent to 44 percent of gross state product (GSP) and 328 percent of the state’s explicit government debt. Depending on market conditions, the state will begin to run out of money to pay benefits between 2013 and 2019. The state’s five defined benefit pension plans cover over 770,000 workers, and more than a quarter million retirees depend on state pensions paying out almost $6 billion per year in benefits. Nationwide, state pensions are underfunded by between $2.8 trillion and $5.2 trillion, some 20 to 37 percent of America’s annual output as much as $3 trillion, approximately 20 percent of America’s annual output..

This path is not sustainable. In order to avert a fiscal crisis and ensure that future state employees have dependable retirement savings, New Jersey should follow the lead of the federal government and the private sector and move from defined benefit pensions to defined contribution pensions. While significant liabilities will remain, the first step to addressing the pension crisis is capping existing liabilities and providing new employees with more sustainable retirement options.

Specifically, the paper recommends that policy makers:

  • Extend the defined contribution plan already available to state university faculty and staff and the state’s Defined Contribution Retirement Program to all state employees.
  • Reduce or freeze cost of living adjustments (COLAs) to reduce the state’s unfunded liability.
  • Transition non-vested workers to defined contribution plans.

Whole thing here.

4 thoughts on “New Jersey’s Pension Crisis: New Research

  1. Pingback: Home Security Options Defined | Home Sweet Home

  2. Jim Morris

    The basic principles for funding for the government have been destroyed in the U.S. . We deny that anything must actually be produced to pay are operating costs. The government is a operating cost that must be payed or it will be unpaid debt. The choice is for the people to make. The people have been fooled into thinking that every job in the nation can be exported in the name of ” Free Market Capitalism “. That is supposed to be the same as freedom and democracy. The truth is that the government has worked to continually reduce the workers wages so that the corporate elite could steal all wealth. Its a nation in crisis. The moral bankruptcy has lead to the financial bankruptcy.

  3. Jim Morris

    The basic principles for funding for the government have been destroyed in the U.S. . We deny that anything must actually be produced to pay are operating costs. The government is a operating cost that must be payed or it will be unpaid debt. The choice is for the people to make. The people have been fooled into thinking that every job in the nation can be exported in the name of ” Free Market Capitalism “. That is supposed to be the same as freedom and democracy. The truth is that the government has worked to continually reduce the workers wages so that the corporate elite could steal all wealth. Its a nation in crisis. The moral bankruptcy has lead to the financial bankruptcy.

  4. Pingback: JEREMIAH

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