23 December 2010

New Jersey First, Last, and Always

It's being reported today that New Jersey faces a $53 billion deficit in its retiree pension obligations. That's a number that, according to the governor's office, could rise to over $180 billion in thirty years - if we don't change the system now.

Meanwhile, Governor Chris Christie is mulling over whether or not to sign the "New Jersey First Act". The bill, passed by the Senate this week, will require new state employees to live in New Jersey, or establish primary residence here within one year of beginning work. Current employees who live out of state would be exempt from the provision.

It occurs to me that these two issues have a lot in common.

If new public employees have to live here to work here, maybe new retirees should have to live here to collect their pensions.

It would be interesting to find out how many pension checks are mailed out of state, or transferred by direct deposit to banks in Florida, or North Carolina. All of that capital leaving the state can not possibly have a positive effect on our economy.

Pension checks received in New Jersey are likely to be spent in New Jersey, benefiting our economy.

Perhaps there is a formula where part of the pension could be awarded as a property tax credit - sell your house, move away, and lose the credit.

What do you think?

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