Assembly panel advances Prieto bill to appropriate $300M to pension system

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The state Assembly budget panel has advanced a bill sponsored by Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32) that would allow $300 million to be appropriated towards New Jersey pension system payments.

Vincent Prieto

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“Democrats are committed to fiscal responsibility,” Prieto said in a statement. “Failing to make the required pension payment has put the state deeper in the fiscal trouble, led to state credit rating downgrades and hurt New Jersey’s economy.”

“We need to balance the budget and fully fund our obligations, and this prepayment is part of our effort to fix these problems and move the state’s economy in the right direction.”

Prieto has also been a strong advocate of building casinos in North Jersey to help our economy, since “the state of New Jersey needs revenue.”

The bill (A-4006) represents a down payment toward the required FY 2016 state contribution of $3.1 billion to the retirement systems, or 5/7 of the full determined annual required contribution, and was advanced by the Assembly budget panel yesterday.

Prieto added that the appropriation this fiscal year ensures that the $300 million is invested immediately, rather than at the end of June 2016.

The New Jersey Office of Legislative Services has identified an additional $300 million in revenue for fiscal year 2015.

“The intent of this bill is to get that funding invested in the pension system as soon as possible,” Prieto also added. “Doing so allows for the earning of investment returns in FY 2016 on the appropriated amount.”

Earlier this month, when the state Supreme Court reversed a lower court decision that allowed Republican Gov. Chris Christie to cut billions of dollars in contributions meant for the pension system, Prieto said the ruling would not change the Democrats approach to the situation.