NJ trims state pensions; Gov. Christie says cut more (Update)

NJ's State Assembly "overwhelmingly approved the three-bill package" that "will cut retirement payments for future workers by 9 percent, make all public employees start contributing 1.5 percent of their salaries toward health-care premiums, cap payouts for unused sick time at $15,000, and make changes intended to thwart pension abuses," writes the Inquirer's Jonathan Tamari here.

Gov. Christie signed the bills (his first as Gov.) last night. "Except for the health-care contributions, most of the major changes will affect new hires only. Two of the three bills will combine to save the state $8 billion over the next 15 years, Christie said.Christie has called for even further cuts."

The General Assembly "by a vote of 62-5, passed a bill to exclude part-time workers from the $67.3 billion pension system after the legislation was amended to remove a provision that would have allowed future full-time workers to opt out of enrolling in the pension system," reports Bloomberg here.

"Lawmakers also approved measures to require teachers for the first time to pay for health insurance, and cap payouts of unused sick time at retirement. The Senate, which approved all three bills last month, concurred with the changes. Democrats control the Legislature."

“Our state can no longer afford a system that is rife with abuse, that promises substantial payouts with little buy-in, and that provides benefits that are wildly out of proportion with the private sector,'” Republican Christie said in this statement. “The costs in the system remain dangerously out of balance and additional reforms are necessary to ensure the future solvency of the system.”