New Jersey’s pension system is among the worst in the country and for two decades has been underfunded by governors from both parties. Part of the problem is that the state owes more money than has been put into the system by employees.
To fix the problem, Senate President Steve Sweeney has been pushing his “Path to Progress.” It’s a plan that addresses the issue by taking savings from the health care side. He says this will allow the state to have more money to pay for the pension contributions.
But New Jersey Director for the Communications Workers of America Hetty Rosenstein says the plan needs to be scrapped and that the plan only shifts the costs of health care onto state workers and does not solve the actual problem.
“The ‘Path to Progress’ is not the answer. It’s an effort to try once again take the civilian public workers and try to say they are pitted against the public. And use us as currency in a budget fight,” said Rosenstein. “The ‘Path to Progress’ proposes to cut health care costs sort of in a wholesale way. It doesn’t change the overall cost of health care it just shifts who pays for it.”
“The Path To Progress is about preventing a fiscal crisis that could have disastrous consequences for everyone, including public workers and taxpayers,” Sweeney said in a statement. “The needed reforms will help protect and preserve the pension system, health benefits and the fiscal stability of state finances. We are all in this together and if we don’t take the steps needed to restore the integrity of public finances we will all suffer the consequences.”
Rosenstein says she has tried to set up a meeting with Sweeney to discuss CWA’s concerns, but says Sweeney has yet to set something up.