July 25, 2007

Welcome Aboard the Titanic: New Jersey’s Financial Morass.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 10:29 pm

Remember when I told you in April that New Jersey faced UNFUNDED pension liabilities of $56 BILLION? People in the private sector go to jail for that kind of crap.

Now, we learn that, on top of the $56 BILLION in unfunded pension liabilities, New Jersey also faces $58 BILLION in liability for UNFUNDED medical benefits for current and retired state workers.

It seems that all the while the state has been promising state workers virtually free health care after retirement (which could happen as early as at age 55), it has not set aside any reserves to pay the health care tab, which in today’s dollars id $58 BILLION. The state stopped putting money in reserves for retiree medical benefits during Christine Whitman’s administration in 1994.

So let’s do the arithmetic, shall we? $56 BILLION plus 58 BILLION is, by my reckoning, $114 BILLION in money that the state has promised to pay and has ZERO dollars to pay it with.

So, how will the sorry assed taxpayers the State of New Jersey pay this money? According to the New York Times,

New Jersey officials say the state simply cannot afford to create a reserve at this time, given the debt. Instead they plan to pay each year’s retiree benefits out of revenues and work to control future costs. (emphasis mine).

Say what? Pay it out of revenues and work to control future costs? Excuse me while I convulse, sadly not with laughter.

Let’s translate the bullshit into English. The notion of paying a $114 BILLION shortfall out of “revenues” is comical, because the “revenues” (i.e. as a practical matter, taxes and state fees) may well not even cover the current budgeted expenses. As for trying to “control future costs,” don’t make me laugh! The most recent budget (at a time when the state already faced a massive deficit) called for an increase in state spending by something like 13%.

Hang on to your wallets, or consider looking into moving to Pennsylvania or Delaware.

While the Corzine administration has at least conceded the existence of the financial mess (previous administrations and the legislature have ignored it), the Governor hasn’t done much to help things. As noted, he increased state spending in the most recent budget, and his plan to have more retirees pay something toward their health premiums didn’t happen.

His idea for paying down this deficit centers around the selling or leasing of the New Jersey Turnpike, but he has postponed any further discussion of this political hot potato until after the November elections.;

If a business ran like this state does, it would be out of business, and, for not funding pension benefits, its owners might well land in federal prison.

It is positively sickening.

I believe that, when it comes to rotten and grossly incompetent state government, New Jersey is worse than Louisiana. And, speaking as someone who loves this state, despite all its faults, that is a damned shame.

Permit me a word to my fellow Garden Staters. Can we PLEASE put the partisan baloney aside for just a moment and admit to ourselves that every single one of our goddamned legislators is part of the problem? And, as such, every single goddamned one of them should be voted out of office.


  1. Move, before they have a chance to take your wallet.
    They will you know.

    Comment by dick — July 25, 2007 @ 11:41 pm

  2. Move to Colorado, Jimbo…where the air is sweet (most of the time), the sun shines all most every day, the people are fit and happy, the skiing is great…and so on and so forth!

    Comment by Lee — July 25, 2007 @ 11:59 pm

  3. Good heaven’s Jimbo – time to get out of there. I’m sure the Wiseass Brooklyn Jooette can find you a place in Brooklyn. *grin*

    Comment by Teresa — July 26, 2007 @ 12:29 am

  4. Jimbo,
    Where were the auditors? We’d never be able to pull one over like that where I work. Amazing!

    Comment by Jerry — July 26, 2007 @ 12:33 am

  5. Yo, T — take it back!

    Jimbo and I — in order for there to be a modicum of Peace in the Cosmos — need, in the very least, a polluted river, major garbage dump and/or filthy oil refinery (on Jersey’s Hoffa-enriched soil) separating us.

    As you could probably surmise, he will never move from there, nor will I ever move from here, but if you ask outsiders, they probably couldn’t understand the fierce loyalties we have for our respective states (although mine’s DEFINITELY better).

    Comment by Wiseass Brooklyn Jooette — July 26, 2007 @ 12:41 am

  6. polluted river, major garbage dump and/or filthy oil refinery

    Have you considered Billings, Montana? That would satisfy all those requirements.

    Comment by Craig — July 26, 2007 @ 12:55 am

  7. Sounds like what defunct pan am is doing to it’s retirees. Totally screwed.

    Comment by Hammer — July 26, 2007 @ 3:18 am

  8. Seems like I remember sumthin about Christine Whitman being a fiscal conservative and was balancing the state budget..maybe when she quit funding the medical benifits it started a precedent..but the precedent didn’t help her get to be president.

    The left wing still just can’t understand that there don’t be no free lunch. Even dumb ole rednecks like me know that..

    Comment by GUYK — July 26, 2007 @ 10:21 am

  9. Jimbo……

    Took note of your suggestion to possibly move to Pennsylvania…….With Governor Rumball at the helm, sales tax`s are expected to rise to 7%, a gas tax surcharge of .10 cents a gallon is being considered, free health care for all is being touted, the roads are crap, the business climate is terrible & industry is leaving the state at record levels, Our school systems are in the crapper. Rumball promises everyone a free ride & the welfare baase insures he & those like him are elected.

    In my travels around this land , in many states Industry is welcomed,educational facilities abound , people are at work & things are in general really good. It do not seem to be the case in Pennsylvania & apparently New Jersey. This is progressive liberal socialism at work for responsibilty of the decline of the heartland of once was a thriving Mid- Atlantic/North East Powerhouse.

    Comment by dudley1 — July 26, 2007 @ 10:28 am

  10. Good piece, Jim. One problem we have in the 1st district is that an incumbent Neither is worth anything. Shall I write you in?

    Comment by Bob — July 26, 2007 @ 1:37 pm

  11. The vast increase in State workers since McGreevy took office will greatly add to the cost of retired State workers in coming years. Remember, most of them can retire after 25 years on the job. Like a true socialist, Gov. Corzine’s solution to the problem is to increase the size of government, increase spending, increase taxes and fees, and chase private business right out of New Jersey.

    Comment by Jerry — July 26, 2007 @ 11:44 pm

  12. Again I say: Eliminate all government officials and elect a king. That way we only have one hide to skin.

    Comment by Jersey Joe — July 29, 2007 @ 2:11 pm

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