Which pensioners have the most to lose in New Jersey’s pension overhaul?
This week, New Jersey lawmakers approved a bill that would change the state’s pension system in a big way, and some pensioners say they don’t know if they will have enough money to pay all their bills or not.
The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Finance for further consideration, but it’s unclear when it will be sent to Gov.
Chris Christie, who is expected to sign it into law this month.
The legislation would make pension plans subject to a 10% cap, which would cut the benefits available to those who have paid more than $100,000 in state and local taxes in their working years.
The cap is also set to be eliminated for those in the top 2% of earners in the state, which is defined as earning $170,000 per year or more.
The new law would make the cap on benefits available for people who earn more than about $80,000, with the exception of people with a high-school diploma, who would see the cap go down to around $55,000.
The other big change in the bill is that the state would also start to make some investments in retirement savings plans for people over 65, which will be subject to the same caps on benefits as pensioners.
The plans would include the New Jersey State Employees Retirement System, which has been under a state takeover and now is under state control, and the New York State Teachers Retirement System.
The pension cap was already one of the main sticking points in the plan.
Many of the plan’s participants have high health care costs and would see their benefits cut under the bill, which also reduces the amount of tax deductions that are available to people making more than a certain amount per year.
Some pensioners also said that some of the provisions in the legislation were not in keeping with what they expected to pay.
The bill does not require a worker to pay back any of their pension contributions, but some said that was not an expectation they would be making, especially after seeing what was in the proposal.
“What do you expect me to do?
I’ve never had any money,” said Mary Meeks, who has been a retired teacher for 28 years.
“What am I supposed to do?”
“It’s really hard for me to understand,” said Linda Gabbro, who retired in March with a disability that required her to stay home to care for her husband, who suffers from multiple sclerosis.
“I’m just not sure what the hell I am going to do.”
Meeks said she would have liked to have seen a similar reform in the pension plan, but she did not expect it to happen under Christie.
“He’s the governor, so I’m not going to let him change my pension,” Meeks said.
“He’s going to be doing the same thing to us as he did to everybody else.”
The bill would also create a new system for calculating employee benefits, which was introduced by New Jersey Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Camden), but was never made into law.
A few pensioners said they would like to see the same system as the old one, but said it’s hard to understand what the difference is.
“I would like it to be the old system where we have to work for it,” said Patricia Bresler, a retired public works worker.
“But, you know, you’re still getting the same benefits.
It’s hard for us to understand.”
While the new system is a step in the right direction, it is unclear how many pensioners will be able to survive in a state that has the highest unemployment rate in the country.
The state has a long way to go before it gets back to a time when there were no long-term unemployed.