According to the Newark Star Ledger, NJ Governor John Corzine will sign a new pension reform bill that reduces in a small way some of the more generous benefits enjoyed by public employees in NJ. Here's the post. For instance, the new bill raises the retirement age from 60 to 62 (don't we private sector types wish that we could think about retiring at 60!). It eliminates pensions for part-time employees who earn less than $7,500 per year. It eliminates the ability of employees to tack public employment in other states (!) in order to reach the 25 years of service required to get lifetime retirement health insurance benefits. I must confess that I didn't know that we were providing retirement health insurance to state employees who may not have spent most of their careers in NJ.
And, to add insult to injury, after current contracts expire in 2011, state workers will no longer get a paid day off for Lincoln's birthday. I may be wrong about this, but I seem to remember that my home state has long been alone in continuing to recognize Honest Abe's birthday as a separate paid holiday.
Will all of this pension reform save beleaguered NJ taxpayers any real money? Probably not, but at least it's a small step in the right direction, and around here we'll take what progress we can get and try to build upon it.
And if you have time for a little entertainment, the posts from readers responding to the article will give you a flavor of what political and economic life's really like in the great Garden State