New Jersey’s state pension system has recently been named the worst-funded state retirement plan in the country and is arguably one of our largest financial problems. Christie’s failure to meet our pension obligation has been a driving factor behind 11 credit-rating downgrades which now makes running the government more expensive for all of us in New Jersey.
The Tax Foundation reports NJ has the 3rd highest state-local tax burden in the nation, and yet we remain unable to meet our pension obligations. NJ government is inefficient, and raising taxes will not solve this problem. I support complete economic reform and increased transparency in how our tax dollars are being spent. As a legislator, I commit to restoring trust in NJ with regular payments to the pension system.
Specifically, I propose:
- Reliably make quarterly pension payments.
- Create a public bank to break our dependence on expensive Wall Street money to fund our needs and prospects. In 2015, $728 million was paid in fees and bonuses to Wall Street firms to manage less than a third of our pension investments. We have an opportunity to save those fees by keeping our money in our own bank. We can invest in our own infrastructure and small businesses while offering mortgages and student loans to New Jerseyans. Forty percent of the world’s assets are held in public banks. North Dakota’s $70 billion public bank enables loans to school systems for new infrastructure at 2% as well as mortgages and school loans for college students.
- Implement a shared-service model for financial management across government.
- Use digital technology to streamline operations, improve services, and democratize access.
- Hold down discretionary spending to fit affordability.