Senate President Steve Sweeney today unveiled a new website – www.njbenefitreform.com – to cut through the politically charged rhetoric and confusion to provide fact-based information on potential reforms to public employee pension and health benefits.
“Public employees are being bombarded with conflicting and oftentimes flat-out wrong information about the pension and health benefit reform proposals that have been introduced,” said Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Cumberland/Salem). “This site cuts through the static and myths to provide a simple, nonpolitical side-by-side comparison. I am confident that when provided with the facts, rank-and-file public employees will come to realize that reform is essential to ensuring they actually can rely on the benefits they have been promised and deserve.”
Sweeney has introduced measures to reform both the public employee pension and health benefit systems. The pension reform plan (S-2696) would recreate the pension system along the lines of those in the private sector, basing the funds on actuarially sound figures and removing politics from their operations. He also has introduced health benefit reforms (S-2718) that would require public employees to pay a share of their actual health care premium, but along a sliding scale rate linked to their income to ensure fairness.
The website places both the Sweeney plans and the reforms put forward by Governor Christie side-by-side and in plain language, so employees can make their own judgments on the merits of each.
“Many public employees I have spoken to recognize that reform is absolutely necessary, but have been unable to break apart fact from fiction given the many differing messages they are receiving,” said Sweeney. “Reform should not be something that is feared because of half-truths. To ensure the long-term ability of the system to actually deliver benefits, reform must be fully understood and welcomed.”