New Jersey's public-employee pension-system debt grew by about $4.5 billion to a little over $40 billion during the past fiscal year, according to new actuarial reports for the individual funds that were made public earlier this week.
The debt -- known as the pension system's unfunded liability -- represents the difference between the value of what's currently on hand against what is owed to the state's roughly 773,000 current and retired employees.
Though employees have been contributing more in the wake of a 2011 pension reform law, Gov. Chris Christie over the past two fiscal years has reduced promised payments into the pension system that were supposed to be increasing to address the unfunded liability.
The net result of those cuts, which Christie ordered to address budget problems, has been an increase in the unfunded liability