NJ State Pension System

Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver called NJ Gov Christie'a assertions "outright lies," and said she wonders if the governor is "mentally deranged"

N.J. State Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver tells the Philidelphia Inquirer that Gov. Chris Christie was lying when he told a crowd of gathered Republican supporters that she had asked him to help save her job during the final tense moments before the landmark vote on pension and benefits reform.  Listen to the audio tape.

Examining the Changes to Health Insurance and Pensions

WHO IS AFFECTED All state employees and most local government workers, about a half-million in all, as well as about 260,000 retirees.

HEALTH INSURANCE Employees will pay much more, with the increase phased in over four years.

Most workers had been paying 1.5 percent of their salaries for health insurance, regardless of whether they had individual or family coverage. Under the new system, they will instead pay a percentage of the insurance premium — from 3 percent to 35 percent, depending on how much they earn.

A typical worker making $65,000 to $70,000 a year, who elects full-family coverage, will pay 19 percent of the premium, or about $3,600 at current rates, up from about $1,000.

The new system will offer a broader range of plans, including some lower-cost alternatives. Under the old system, an employee paid the same amount regardless of the plan. State officials hope that basing payments on premiums will encourage more workers to choose the cheaper plans.

Will Lawyer for Pension

Gov. Jon S. Corzine in June 2007 signed into law a bill that barred attorneys and others working for government under professional-services contracts from state pension rolls but apparently not everyone got the memo.  I checked 20 municipalities in Union County to see if they were complying and I found:

Lawyers' pension credits probed

State auditors are investigating how a dozen attorneys won public pension credits in recent years despite a heavily publicized reform law signed by Gov. Jon Corzine in June 2007.

"There has been an ongoing review of this situation for several months now and the findings will be forwarded to the Attorney General's Office for prosecution, if warranted," said Andrew Pratt, a spokesman for the state Treasury Department.