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Winter 2017

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Murphy’s Inherited Headaches: The Pension System, Ongoing Tax Cuts

It will take vision and political will to tackle some of New Jersey most pressing, most intractable problems

holiday reading for governor

The condition of New Jersey's grossly underfunded public-employee pension system has been a longstanding problem for state policymakers, and although some incremental improvement has occurred during Gov. Chris Christie's tenure, it remains a huge concern for the incoming administration of Gov.-elect Phil Murphy.

What Murphy ends up doing with public-employee pensions and health benefits remains to be seen, but he comes onto the job with a full analysis of the current condition of the state's pension system and other benefits programs, thanks to a final report that was released earlier this month by a task force of benefits experts that was first assembled by Christie in 2014.

Here's the task force's report, which includes several recommendations covering what could be done to restore the pension system's fiscal health.

From finding ways to replace one-shot revenue sources used by Christie, to figuring out how to make up for the revenue that the state will lose to ongoing tax cuts, a column written for NJ Spotlight earlier this year by former New Jersey budget director and comptroller Richard F. Keevey offered a stark warning for Gov.-elect Phil Murphy of the budget troubles he will be facing after being sworn into office on January 16.

The column from Keevey, who is now a senior policy fellow at Rutgers University's Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, also points to the state's very narrow budget reserves, and the relatively ambitious revenue projections for the current fiscal year, as other potential problems that Murphy will be inheriting from Christie's outgoing administration.

Follow this link for more Holiday Reading for the Governor.

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