New Jersey has the worst funded public-employee retirement system in the country, but the budget deal that Gov. Phil Murphy reached with legislative leaders over the weekend includes a record, $3.2 billion contribution to the various funds that make up the pension system.
The fiscal-year 2019 spending plan calls for the state pension contribution to increase by $700 million compared to the $2.5 billion payment that was made during the 2018 fiscal year (which ended Saturday at midnight). It also represents the latest incremental increase in a multiyear plan to restore the health of the pension system that was established during the tenure of former Republican Gov. Chris Christie.
But New Jersey is still nowhere close to being out of the hole, despite the record-breaking payment in the new budget. Under the ramp-up plan, the state must continue increasing the pension contribution for another four fiscal years to ensure it is making the complete payment recommended by actuaries to fully cover the benefits of current and retired employees.