Opinion: Heads They Win, Tails You Lose

In 1866, Surrogate Gideon J. Tucker wrote that "[n]o man's life, liberty or property are safe while the Legislature is in session." Over a hundred years later, the New Jersey Legislature is doing its very best to keep Surrogate Tucker’s warning pertinent by once again advancing special-interest legislation that reaches for a new low in bad public policy and stunning indifference to taxpayers.

The issue at hand is the state Senate’s recent unanimous approval of S-3040, a bipartisan bill to transfer “management” of the $26 billion Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS) from the Department of the Treasury’s Division of Investment and the State Investment Council to a union-controlled board of trustees. The stated rationale includes giving PFRS’s beneficiaries more control over the investment of their retirement savings and insulating pension-asset investment decisions from nefarious political influence. That sounds benign, even reasonable. As the bill’s prime sponsor stated: “It's a matter of enlightened self-interest for people who have skin in the game."

“Self-interest”? Certainly. “Enlightened”? Not so much.

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