Sunday, August 30, 2015

"Steve Sweeney: Restoring pension COLAs would bankrupt N.J. system"

Senate president Stephen Sweeney says of the case against the state by former public employees to restore Cost of Living Adjustments will bankrupt New Jersey:

"I don't think they win it, to be honest with you. And I think it would cause the bankruptcy of the pension system."

John Bury of Bury Pensions says that the pension system is bankrupt anyway, but according to the NJ Treasury, the COLA suspension accounted for $74 billion of the $122 billion savings from the 2011 Pension Reform.  If COLA payments are restored the only provisions left of the 2011 Pension Reform will be increased (active) employee contributions and the increased retirement age.

Charles Ouslander, a plaintiff who is now seeking to accelerate New Jersey's bankruptcy, says "I don't think that if COLAs are reinstated it will bankrupt the system" but then seems to think that "bankrupt" and "deplete the funds" mean effectively differently things. "I do think it it will deplete the fund that much sooner, and frankly if that provides a sense of urgency as to how they're going to fix the funding problem, then so be it. This should light a fire under everyone."

Ouslander's idea of "fixing the funding problem" probably means screwing younger employees by cutting their pensions and making taxpayers pay even more.

Charles Ouslander himself gets a $67,183 annual pension based on twenty years of employment as a county prosecutor. He was born in 1962 and retired in 2010, meaning he "retired" at age 48.

Don't think that because Ouslander collects a pension that he is retired.  He is now an active public defender and has been a municipal court judge and lawyer for the ASPCA.  He gets a pension on top his other salaries.

Charles Ouslander says "“It’s simply not fair to change the rules in the middle of the game. For the people who had already retired before the law took effect, they changed the score after the game.”

Charles Ouslander forgets that the pension law was changed "in the middle of the game" in his favor in 2001 with Donald Di Francesco's pension increases.  Di Francesco's pension increases applied retroactively to retirees, so according to Ouslander, the pension can be made more generous "in the middle of the game," but not less generous.

To the next generation of New Jerseyans who will have to suffer from paying pensions like Charles Ouslander's that are exorbitant relative to age of the retiree and years served, Charles Ouslander says "nuts."

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