Assembly passes Speaker Prieto bill seeking quarterly pension payments

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In a rarely seen unanimous vote (72-0), the state Assembly passed a bill that would require the state to make quarterly payments to the New Jersey-administered pension systems. Vincent Prieto

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“The Assembly has long supported this concept, including sending it to the voters this year for consideration,” Prieto said in a statement.

“New Jersey’s public servants who have done their part deserve better than repeated broken promises, but this bill would at least represent progress toward a more fiscally responsible approach. Having the state wait until the end of the fiscal year to make one payment is an invitation to skip it, so this would be a common sense improvement.”

Prieto further stated that quarterly payments could mean increased returns in the pension system from investing a portion of the payment earlier in the fiscal year.

The Assembly passed similar bills in 2014 and 2015. The Assembly also approved a constitutional amendment in 2016 that would have required quarterly pension fund payments, but the Senate did not post it.

The bill (A-4) requires the state to make its required contributions to the state-administered defined benefit retirement systems each state fiscal year on a quarterly basis on the following schedule:

· At least 25 percent by Sept. 30;
· At least 50 percent by Dec. 31;
· At least 75 percent by March 31, and;
· At least 100 percent by June 30.

At a panel hosted by the Guarini Institute for Government and Leadership in Jersey City earlier this month, Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-13) promoted his pension plan, respectfully stating that his “friend” Prieto had “no plan.”

The state-administered defined benefit retirement systems are the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund, the Judicial Retirement System, the Prison Officers’ Pension Fund, the Public Employees’ Retirement System, the Consolidated Police and Firemen’s Pension Fund, the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System and the State Police Retirement System.

The quarterly payment requirement will commence in the state fiscal year that starts July 1, 2017.