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Re: N.J. has the lowest number of public workers in 8 years -- state union workers protest
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asdfdf23 wrote:
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dtjcview wrote:
Kinda what I thought. Public employees in NJ really need to talk to a financial advisor, and see if they have better options like Roth IRAs. Particularly if they are contributing their own funds.

That was the deal in the 80's with corporate raiders - they'd buy a company to raid the company's pension funds. Cities and States are kinda doing the same thing these days. If your retirement savings are at risk from the City or State - get it out if you can.


dtjcview, I got no personal skin in this but will ask anyway.
Yes, I agree City & State pensions are underfunded especially in NJ compared to many other states.
But.....that is and can be a different problem than mismanagement of the money already placed in the pension fund. Isn't it a bit simplistic to say, " If your retirement savings are at risk from the City or State - get it out if you can."?
If you do get your money out of the government pension fund how do you really know where it will go instead is going to be a better place?
Anything I have read and studied on this says that government pension funds are no better or no worse than private funds.
Again, this is a separate issue in my mind than the underfunding of the fund.

Yes a city or more unlikely a state can go bankrupt. But, when this happens how is the private pension fund going to be insulated and shielded from this? I believe even today most retirement type investments would contain government bonds or other securities tied heavily to the public sector.

Am I missing something here?


I'm not a CFA, nor have any qualifications in this respect. But it seems like public employees are making contributions out of their wages/salaries to pensions plans, as a percentage of their wages/salaries.

If it's money contributed in that way - from their paycheck, the employee really needs to make sure it's ring-fenced, and set aside for the employee (themselves). And given the shenanigans on public employee pensions, I don't think it's clear any of them have a guarantee their contributions are protected and will be paid back to the contributor. That's why I think they should seek some independent advice.

Hopefully that makes sense?

Posted on: 2011/12/17 3:49
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Re: N.J. has the lowest number of public workers in 8 years -- state union workers protest
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dtjcview wrote:
Kinda what I thought. Public employees in NJ really need to talk to a financial advisor, and see if they have better options like Roth IRAs. Particularly if they are contributing their own funds.

That was the deal in the 80's with corporate raiders - they'd buy a company to raid the company's pension funds. Cities and States are kinda doing the same thing these days. If your retirement savings are at risk from the City or State - get it out if you can.


dtjcview, I got no personal skin in this but will ask anyway.
Yes, I agree City & State pensions are underfunded especially in NJ compared to many other states.
But.....that is and can be a different problem than mismanagement of the money already placed in the pension fund. Isn't it a bit simplistic to say, " If your retirement savings are at risk from the City or State - get it out if you can."?
If you do get your money out of the government pension fund how do you really know where it will go instead is going to be a better place?
Anything I have read and studied on this says that government pension funds are no better or no worse than private funds.
Again, this is a separate issue in my mind than the underfunding of the fund.

Yes a city or more unlikely a state can go bankrupt. But, when this happens how is the private pension fund going to be insulated and shielded from this? I believe even today most retirement type investments would contain government bonds or other securities tied heavily to the public sector.

Am I missing something here?

Posted on: 2011/12/16 3:24
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Re: N.J. has the lowest number of public workers in 8 years -- state union workers protest
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MDM wrote:
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Check whether your pension funds are segregated and invested separately, or whether there are held inside state/municipal finances.


The State Pension system is NOT separated. The State match (taxpayer contribution) has been underfunded since Whitman's term as governor.

Unlike private pensions, there is no Federal guarantee of the pension plans. If the plans are defaulted on, the money is simply gone. All you will be left with is Medicare and Social Security. Social Security went cash flow negative last year.

Unless there is some miracle, public employees are going to get fooked on a biblical scale. The money is simply not there.


Kinda what I thought. Public employees in NJ really need to talk to a financial advisor, and see if they have better options like Roth IRAs. Particularly if they are contributing their own funds.

That was the deal in the 80's with corporate raiders - they'd buy a company to raid the company's pension funds. Cities and States are kinda doing the same thing these days. If your retirement savings are at risk from the City or State - get it out if you can.

Posted on: 2011/12/16 1:11
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Re: N.J. has the lowest number of public workers in 8 years -- state union workers protest
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Check whether your pension funds are segregated and invested separately, or whether there are held inside state/municipal finances.


The State Pension system is NOT separated. The State match (taxpayer contribution) has been underfunded since Whitman's term as governor.

Unlike private pensions, there is no Federal guarantee of the pension plans. If the plans are defaulted on, the money is simply gone. All you will be left with is Medicare and Social Security. Social Security went cash flow negative last year.

Unless there is some miracle, public employees are going to get fooked on a biblical scale. The money is simply not there.

Posted on: 2011/12/16 1:03
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Re: N.J. has the lowest number of public workers in 8 years -- state union workers protest
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r_pinkowitz wrote:
Just a few facts..

As a Government worker:

I pay into my health care and I also happen to pay more than I did when I worked in private sector.

I had to take a 10% pay cut last year when I had 24 furlough days.

I'm fine paying more into my pension because at the end of the day that money is still mine. For me, it's like a forced savings account.

Government workers are feeling the same effects as private sector workers. Everyone is feeling the effects of this crisis and no one is exempt.

For those who are unemployed, I wish you only good things and much success in the New Year and hope things get better. I wouldn't be afraid to start a thread with the type of work you do. You never know who may be reading it and hopefully they may send you a message to contact them.


Pinky - and all public employees.

If you are contributing to a pension directly from your paycheck....Check whether your pension funds are segregated and invested separately, or whether there are held inside state/municipal finances. Key question: if the City or State files for bankrupcy, is your pension protected or wiped out. If it's wiped out, get financial advice on moving it to a Roth IRA or something outside the orbit of public gov.

Posted on: 2011/12/16 0:42
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Re: N.J. has the lowest number of public workers in 8 years -- state union workers protest
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Just a few facts..

As a Government worker:

I pay into my health care and I also happen to pay more than I did when I worked in private sector.

I had to take a 10% pay cut last year when I had 24 furlough days.

I'm fine paying more into my pension because at the end of the day that money is still mine. For me, it's like a forced savings account.

Government workers are feeling the same effects as private sector workers. Everyone is feeling the effects of this crisis and no one is exempt.

For those who are unemployed, I wish you only good things and much success in the New Year and hope things get better. I wouldn't be afraid to start a thread with the type of work you do. You never know who may be reading it and hopefully they may send you a message to contact them.

Posted on: 2011/12/15 23:00
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Re: N.J. has the lowest number of public workers in 8 years -- state union workers protest
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SICULO wrote:


You forgot to include the teachers union which is the largest culprit in the big picture!!!


Even with the reforms Christie put through, the pension system for police, teachers, and fire is still not solvent. If there is a major, major downturn in the stock market, the entire pension system could go up in smoke a lot sooner than expected.

This coupled with counties and municipalities filing for chapter 9 bankruptcy will leave the public unions with a whole lot of nothing as far as their labor agreements and benefit packages.

Posted on: 2011/12/15 22:50
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Re: N.J. has the lowest number of public workers in 8 years -- state union workers protest
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asdfdf23 wrote:
Lots to consider here.
Nevertheless, I seem to remember our local Fire and Police unions are not/were not willing to accept pay freezes even to enable more hiring.

Both my wife and myself make our money in the private sector. Our income as a family has been severely impacted by the great recession. However our tax burden has gone up as a percentage of net income, all due to property tax increases.

If public employees and their unions (especially Police and Fire) are willing to publicly advocate and accept sacrifices, especially for the benefit of getting more members, I would like to hear about it. All I read from most public sector unions and employees is everything should be as it is/was, double dipping (in regards to pensions), Higher salaries, job protection benefits, manipulation of overtime in last year before retirement, and so on as compared to private sector realities.

I admire the recent NJ legislative action to reform NJ public pensions. And hats off to the leader of the steel workers union for his role in this.

In my opinion the best thing that could happen now is a focus by government and American society as a whole in creating Private Sector Jobs. The more that this type of job growth can rise, the better we will be as a Neighborhood, City, County, State and Country.

Summing up, hiring more people would be good, giving even more to existing government workers would be bad.


You forgot to include the teachers union which is the largest culprit in the big picture!!!

Posted on: 2011/12/15 22:20
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Re: N.J. has the lowest number of public workers in 8 years -- state union workers protest
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Speaking of unemployment, has anyone on this board had any luck finding jobs? I hope so. :(


I caught a break last spring. I sent out a whole bunch of resumes' with a customized cover letter for each job opening. I managed to get one (only one) face to face job interview which got me an offer the same day. Though my wife claims it wasn't luck, but her prayers to Buddha that did it.

My tenants have had a terrible time and in turn its hurting me financially (severely). My tenants in the past fell pretty much into two categories:

Indians here on H1B visas.
Newly hired college grads.

The former went away first, the latter has been moving back in with mom and dad (or whomever else has a spare couch). One tenant finally landed a job only to have her first (and only) paycheck bounce. I have another who is paying his rent by re-painting a vacant apartment. These were people who were reliable, on-time tenants for years.

I follow energy markets (my job relates to energy). Consumption of petroleum derived products has been dropping by double digits year over year. We are now a net exporter of products such as gasoline and diesel, something we haven't done in my lifetime. Refinery capacity hasn't increased that much. It's just are consumption has cratered.

The first thing that picks up when the economy does is energy usage. It take fuel to make things and go places. That is just not happening now. When I listen to some talking head stating how we are not in a recession, I think its smoke and mirrors. I don't see growth where it's going to impact first.

A tiny bright spot in this is that we may see commodity prices crash soon (which will include oil). China is in the process of imploding. They have already instituted currency controls to stop the flow of foreign reserves out of the country (it aint working). China is driving much of the world's commodity prices via their construction and export sector. Don't be surprised if oil drops back under $65 a bbl in the next eight months. That will make it a lot cheaper for people to commute, heat their homes. It will also drive down the costs of a lot products from plastics to animal feed.

Posted on: 2011/12/15 20:25
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Re: N.J. has the lowest number of public workers in 8 years -- state union workers protest
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When more public sector workers are retiring, you know that there's an issue with the economy. It's truly a sad state of affairs. :( I realize that I'm posting in here late, but I found this aforementioned article to be really interesting. That and I found this thread via StumbleUpon and thought it was worth a read. My search was concerning finances and whatnot.
Seems like people today are more worried about unemployment than who will do their online payroll. Either way, I hope things get better soon. The lack of jobs out there is spooky. :(


Speaking of unemployment, has anyone on this board had any luck finding jobs? I hope so. :(

Posted on: 2011/12/15 18:36
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Re: N.J. has the lowest number of public workers in 8 years -- state union workers protest
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When more public sector workers are retiring, you know that there's an issue with the economy. It's truly a sad state of affairs. :(

I realize that I'm posting in here late, but I found this aforementioned article to be really interesting. That and I found this thread via StumbleUpon and thought it was worth a read. My search was concerning finances and whatnot.

Either way, I hope things get better soon. The lack of jobs out there is spooky. :(

Posted on: 2011/12/13 16:26
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Re: N.J. has the lowest number of public workers in 8 years -- state union workers protest
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ianmac47 wrote:
The problem with blind labor force reductions under Christie is that this includes occupations where cutting the workforce is dangerous, such as police officers in Newark and Camden, or likely to impact longterm investments, such as reducing teachers or university positions. What Christie has failed to do is reduce the bureaucracy of local government; true savings comes when we eliminate the unnecessary municipalities, local school boards, and the town by town services that drive up the cost of doing business. Christie hasn't done this at all. Instead, crime is up in Newark and Camden and other cities with police layoffs, class size is up in public schools all while he is claiming a victory.


Well I agree those areas shouldn't have to reduce their workforce. However, that doesn't mean those areas don't have fat to trim. Change from defined benefit to defined contribution for new employees (police and teachers), extend the number of years one has to work to retire and receive pensions, and require greater pay into medical are three things that could be done to get cost savings without reducing the size of the force. Those negotiations have happened elsewhere in this country. The relative power of the union is too strong in NJ and then rather than agreeing to reduction in benefits or reduction in pay increases, it becomes a cut-off-your-nose-to-spite-the-taxpayers-face situation. To protect the majority of their members, the union will throw a few employees under the bus. They are acting rationally given their mission, but you can't say it is the best outcome for the state or the taxpayers. Why not let the unions take equal (if not more) blame than Christie?

Posted on: 2011/9/6 0:24
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Re: N.J. has the lowest number of public workers in 8 years -- state union workers protest
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ianmac47 wrote:
The problem with blind labor force reductions under Christie is that this includes occupations where cutting the workforce is dangerous, such as police officers in Newark and Camden, or likely to impact longterm investments, such as reducing teachers or university positions. What Christie has failed to do is reduce the bureaucracy of local government; true savings comes when we eliminate the unnecessary municipalities, local school boards, and the town by town services that drive up the cost of doing business. Christie hasn't done this at all. Instead, crime is up in Newark and Camden and other cities with police layoffs, class size is up in public schools all while he is claiming a victory.


In Hudson County the education budget is still increasing....

Posted on: 2011/9/5 23:36
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Re: N.J. has the lowest number of public workers in 8 years -- state union workers protest
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The problem with blind labor force reductions under Christie is that this includes occupations where cutting the workforce is dangerous, such as police officers in Newark and Camden, or likely to impact longterm investments, such as reducing teachers or university positions. What Christie has failed to do is reduce the bureaucracy of local government; true savings comes when we eliminate the unnecessary municipalities, local school boards, and the town by town services that drive up the cost of doing business. Christie hasn't done this at all. Instead, crime is up in Newark and Camden and other cities with police layoffs, class size is up in public schools all while he is claiming a victory.

Posted on: 2011/9/5 16:05
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Re: N.J. has the lowest number of public workers in 8 years -- state union workers protest
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Lots to consider here.
Nevertheless, I seem to remember our local Fire and Police unions are not/were not willing to accept pay freezes even to enable more hiring.

Both my wife and myself make our money in the private sector. Our income as a family has been severely impacted by the great recession. However our tax burden has gone up as a percentage of net income, all due to property tax increases.

If public employees and their unions (especially Police and Fire) are willing to publicly advocate and accept sacrifices, especially for the benefit of getting more members, I would like to hear about it. All I read from most public sector unions and employees is everything should be as it is/was, double dipping (in regards to pensions), Higher salaries, job protection benefits, manipulation of overtime in last year before retirement, and so on as compared to private sector realities.

I admire the recent NJ legislative action to reform NJ public pensions. And hats off to the leader of the steel workers union for his role in this.

In my opinion the best thing that could happen now is a focus by government and American society as a whole in creating Private Sector Jobs. The more that this type of job growth can rise, the better we will be as a Neighborhood, City, County, State and Country.

Summing up, hiring more people would be good, giving even more to existing government workers would be bad.

Posted on: 2011/9/5 15:19
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N.J. has the lowest number of public workers in 8 years -- state union workers protest
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N.J. has the lowest number of public workers in 8 years, analysis shows

Published: Tuesday, August 30, 2011,
The Star Ledger
By Jarrett Renshaw/Statehouse

A crowd of state union workers gather outside the Statehouse Annex in protest of the public employee pension and healthcare benefits bill in this June file photo. A Star-Ledger analysis shows that N.J. currently employs the lowest number of public workers in eight years.

TRENTON — With a flood of retirements, the sluggish economy and a governor intent on shrinking the size of government, the number of public workers in New Jersey has dropped to its lowest level in eight years, a Star-Ledger analysis shows.

New Jersey shed about 29,100 state and local government jobs during Gov. Chris Christie’s first 19 months in office, trailing only New York and California in the total number of public sector jobs lost, according to federal labor statistics.

The latest figures, released earlier this month, show the state has fewer public employees — from police and teachers to college administrators and state workers — on the payrolls than at any other point since September 2003.

In fact, New Jersey’s sizable decline accounts for more than 8 percent of the 357,100 public sector jobs lost in states across the country since January 2010, the month Christie took office.

The loss of public sector jobs comes as New Jersey’s post-recession economy continues to struggle, translating into a 9.5 unemployment rate that is 13th highest in the nation.

In recent months, Christie has recast the unemployment rate — a critical yardstick for governors — saying it’s more a measure of his success than his failures. He said the stubbornly high jobless figure is an unavoidable consequence of his mission to shrink the size of government in New Jersey.

"The fact is we added nearly 50,000 new private sector jobs and at the same time doing exactly what I promised to do which was to lower the number of public sector jobs," Christie said in interview earlier this month. "That’s the way you get the economy back. It’s not through government spending, it’s through the private sector."

But economists and critics argue that Christie’s outlook ignores how the loss of so many jobs, regardless of their origin, threatens the state’s broader economy.

"These are people who no longer have a pay check, who are not buying things, it creates a ripple effect," said Jon Shure, director of state fiscal strategies at Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal think tank in Washington. "You’re not just laying off a worker, you’re laying off the clerk at the grocery store where they shop."

In January 2010, there were 590,200 employees on public payrolls in New Jersey. But that has dropped by more than 5 percent, the fifth highest percentage decline in the nation, the analysis shows.

In the same time period, the total number of jobs in New Jersey — accounting for gains in the private sector and losses in public jobs — rose by 20,300. That ranks New Jersey behind 38 other states in percentage of job growth.
Christie’s critics say he may have been successful at shrinking government, but he has failed to expand the economy and provide new employment opportunities.

"We accept the cost of government was too high," said Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-Passaic), an investment consultant and a member of the Assembly Budget Committee. "But to take credit for people’s unemployment without creating a meaningful job where they can go to suggests that he’s only won half the battle."

In downgrading New Jersey’s credit rating earlier this month, analysts at Fitch Ratings cited the state’s weak job numbers and said they expect the state to "lag the nation in recovering from the recent recession."
Christie and administration officials expect the unemployment rate to drop as the public sector job losses slow and are offset by anticipated growth in the private sector.

The state’s chief economist, Charles Steindel, said New Jersey has seen six straight months of private sector job growth, significantly outpacing the declines in the public sector for the first time since 2008.

Treasurer Andrew P. Sidamon-Eristoff noted Christie was elected a year before most governors and has a head start on those now in their first year in office. "We are going to see other states continue this process, and, on a comparative basis, New Jersey will look better by the end of the year and into next year," he said.

Since becoming governor, Christie has placed stringent property tax caps at the local level and cut state aid to school districts, municipalities and colleges, which together prompted scores of layoffs and unfilled vacancies. He also enacted health and pension reform, which helped push nearly 40,000 public workers into retirement, the highest figure in at least a decade. Many who retired were not replaced.

"These policies were aimed at restoring fiscal sanity to the biggest areas of government spending," said Christie spokesman Kevin Roberts. "They also had the effect of inducing retirements and forcing choices to be made at the local level. What cannot be ignored, and a point we’ve made often, is that those choices still had to be made at the local level."

Shure said Christie, like other governors, misdiagnosed the state’s financial problems as exclusively spending-related when the real culprit is the historic economic downturn and increased demand for government services. He said too many states, including New Jersey, have refused to consider revenue increases to help stabilize the economy. "At some point belt tightening becomes a noose," said Shure.

The analysis found the largest job decline came at the local level, including towns and schools with big state aid cuts.
When Christie took office, there were 438,300 local government workers. As of July, that figure has dropped by 18,200, resulting in the fewest number of local workers since December 2003. Only six states had a higher percentage decline in local government workers during the same period, the analysis shows.

The analysis also shows there are 10,900 fewer state workers — including employees at state colleges and universities — than when Christie took office, Only two other states saw higher percentage declines during the same time period.

As governor he led the overhaul of pension and healthcare reform for public employees in the state.
"In previous times, the decline in public sector jobs hit administration, but these last two years we are seeing a dramatic dip in police, fire and EMS employees because the state aid was cut," said William Dressel, executive director of the New Jersey League of Municipalities.

Police and firefighters across the state have reacted with anger, framing the issue as a matter of public safety. "Our members are being asked to do their job without the manpower necessary to get things done. And at any given time, we can go to work and not come home," said Dominick Marino, president of the International Association of Firefighters of New Jersey.

The city of Trenton is preparing to lay off 108 officers, which union officials there say would put staffing at 1930s levels.
"What the numbers remind us of is there is no such thing as a free budget cut. A job is a job is a job," said Joel L. Naroff, president and chief economist with Pennsylvania-based Naroff Economic Advisors Inc. "But the short-term pain must be considered alongside the long-term benefits of reduced government spending on wages and benefits, which frees up money for economic investment."

Posted on: 2011/9/5 10:25
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