A contentious discussion of possible solutions to New Jersey’s public pension funding crisis, sponsored by NJSpotlight.com, the public policy news and issues website, was covered in video by LMC’s StateBroadcastNews.com unit in Trenton on July 8. The roundtable is the latest in a series of conferences produced by NJSpotlight.com and videotaped by SBN for distribution on the NJSpotlight website and YouTube channel.
Due to years of underfunding, New Jersey’s public-employee pension system is at least $44 billion in debt . The retiree healthcare system is an even bigger hot spot, as costs spiral out of control. With baby boomers retiring and the costs of the system threatening to strangle all discretionary spending, officials are searching for a way to solve these problems. Democrats are looking to bolster the system with guaranteed payments. Republicans are hoping to transform the system using 401(k)s. Both parties are looking at ways to create lower costs through efficiencies in the health system.
On July 8 NJ Spotlight and state and regional leaders gathered to discuss the problem and possible solutions. One of the goals: Evaluate how this issue can affect the retirement of public employees and impact taxpayers and services.
Keynote Address: Happy New Fiscal Year. Now Get Ready for Troubles Ahead
William Glasgall, State and Local Program Director, The Volcker Alliance
William Glasgall joined the Volcker Alliance in 2014 as Director of the Alliance’s State and Local programs. Previously, he was Managing Editor at Bloomberg News, overseeing coverage of state and local government and financial news that won numerous awards from the National Press Club Foundation and other organizations.
Panel Discussion: Pensions and Possible Solutions
Tom Byrne, Chairman, State Investment Council William Glasgall, Director, State and Local Programs, Volcker Alliance Dominick Marino, President, Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey Edward Richardson, Chief Executive, New Jersey Education Association Hetty Rosenstein, State Director, Communications Workers of America
Panel Discussion: Retiree Healthcare Costs Spiraling Out of Control
Assemblyman Daniel Benson, New Jersey State Legislature; Dudley Burdge, Senior Staff Representative, Communications Workers of America Local 1032; Stephen Eide, senior fellow, Manhattan Institute Thomas Healey, New Jersey Pension and Benefit Study Commission; Kevin Kelleher, Director of Research, New Jersey Education Association
Moderator: John Reitmeyer, public finance writer, NJ Spotlight