As reported by nj.com, public pension funds may have gotten a much-needed boost from Governor Chris Christie’s landmark overhaul last year, but reports released show the funds continue to be hampered by the State’s failure to make full payments into the plans.
Christie and Democratic leaders joined together last year and shifted a greater share of the pension costs on to public workers and cut out cost-of-living increases for future and current retirees. The move helped drive the State’s nagging unfunded pension liability from $53.9 billion to $36.3 billion when they revised 2010 figures, the report shows.
But the State’s pension hole grew by $5.5 billion by the end of the 2011 budget year, largely because Christie followed in the tradition of his predecessors and failed to make a pension payment, an annual actuarial report on the pension funds shows. Overall, the State has only 67 percent of the money it needs to meet its future pension obligation, and that figure is expected to worsen as the State phases in its full pension payment over the next seven years.
The State was supposed to pay about $3 billion into the pension fund this year, but will only be paying about $480 million. Next year, the State will only pay about $900 million of its $3 billion bill, records show.
By 2018, State taxpayers will begin paying more than $5 billion a year for pensions, roughly ten times higher than the partial payment being made in this year’s budget, according to administration estimates. The tab for local taxpayers will rise by about $600 million by 2020, estimates show.