Senate President Steve Sweeney issued the following statement today on the proposed constitutional amendment on pension payments:
“Contrary to what some union leaders have been saying, the pension amendment does not die because it was not voted on by today. The Senate can still approve it with a simple majority vote any time before the legislative session expires in January, putting it on the November 2017 ballot. Without a resolution to the Transportation Trust Fund crisis – and a full accounting of how much future tax cuts will cost – it would have been too easy for opponents to argue that the state could not afford to pass the pension amendment. The pension amendment would have been doomed to defeat, and that would have given carte blanche to current and future governors to slash pension payments. I care too much about meeting our obligation to our teachers, state employees and retirees to allow that to happen.”
Here are the facts:
1. The State made the $1.3 billion pension payment in June 2016. (Which matches the Pension Amendment payment schedule.)
2. The current 2017 Budget includes a $1.9 billion pension payment. (Which also matches the Pension Amendment payment schedule.)
3. The Sales Tax Cut passed by the Assembly and supported by the Governor would place increased burdens on the state’s taxpayers at a cost of nearly $2 billion.
4. SCR2 can be passed at any time before the end of the legislative calendar year and be placed on the 2017 ballot with a simple majority vote in the State Senate.
5. If the proposed amendment was voted down this November we would have to wait at least three years to put it on the ballot again, according to the New Jersey Constitution.
This release originally appeared on senatorsweeney.com.