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Christie Misses Tax-Revenue Estimate, Blows $600M Hole in Current Budget

By John Reitmeyer/NJ Spotlight/May 19, 2016

For the fourth time in the past six years, New Jersey has missed Gov. Chris Christie's tax-revenue projections, setting off another scramble for money during the final weeks of the state's budget year. This latest gap totals $600 million.

Weaker-than-expected tax collections announced by Christie's administration yesterday are also forcing a revision of the budget plan the governor has proposed for the next fiscal year, with the total impact rising to $1 billion spread over the two budgets.

But while some of his proposed solutions are familiar, like raiding the surplus account and diverting money from the Clean Energy Fund, this time around his administration says it has no plans to touch funding for public-employee pensions.

For Christie, the last-minute revisions to his budget are all the more difficult since most of the spending has already occurred at this point in the fiscal year.

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Raucous Meeting of Pension-System Managers Ends in Cliffhanger


John Reitmeyer/NJ Spotlight/May 26, 2016

It was supposed to be another staid meeting of the board that oversees New Jersey's $71 billion public-employee pension system. It ended with a dramatic deadlocked vote on a key policy issue -- how heavily pension assets should be invested in hedge funds -- and an equally dramatic threat from one veteran board member to immediately tender his resignation. Just to keep the volume pumped up there were accusations from an audience brimming with frustrated public-worker union members that the male-dominated board was doing too much "mansplaining."

And when this pecuniary tempest had blown itself out, the New Jersey State Investment Council, which includes union representatives and gubernatorial appointees, could not agree on an overall investment game plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1, something that is typically put in place by the end of May.

What's the beef with taking a stake in hedge funds? They're just another way to increase gains and minimize losses, and are part of a broader diversification policy that is aimed at protecting the pension system against volatility and wild swings in the stock market.



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PSMA Retirees' Network Update
August 23,2016


We are planning a Retirees' Network Breakfast for mid to late September. Look for an upcoming announcement.

Unfortunately, the biggest issue for retirees, the Pension Amendment, was not posted for a vote in the Senate in time to make the November ballot. PSMA, through the Stronger United Independent Labor Council (SUILC), will be working to ensure that this Amendment is voted on prior to January 2017 in order to get it on the ballot in 2017.

PSMA and the Retirees' Network have been working hard to integrate with SUILC. Look for emails and the new SUILC Newsletter in the near future.

The Retiree Network is the only organization that can bring you the support of PSMA and the IBEW - so help us grow our membership!

Please take a moment and send an email to a state retiree to ask them to join. If you know of a retired state employee please have him or her go to http://www.psmanj.org/extras/RetiredManagers.pdf for more information.

The Retirees'





Contribute to PSMA PAC


In order for an organization to be effective it has to have a well-funded Political Action Committee (PAC). PSMA is prohibited by law from using dues to give donations to candidates and political parties. All monies used for that purpose come from a separate PSMA PAC which gets its funding directly from voluntary contributions by members. In the past the PSMA PAC made some very critical donations to legislators who ended up supporting us in our quest for union legislation. Therefore, we ask that you send a donation via check to the PSMA PAC at:

PSMA PAC
212 West State Street
Trenton, NJ 08608

You can also pay via credit card - just write to info@psmanj.org and request that a PayPal Invoice be sent to you.

If you have any questions please contact Executive Director Lisa Ginther at info@psmanj.org.
 
Welcome to the Public Sector Managers' Association

The Public Sector Managers' Association, Inc. (PSMA) has been recognized by the State of New Jersey as the Constitutional Representative of all non- aligned/non-union managers in New Jersey government as of November 13, 1993 pursuant to Article 1, Paragraph 19 of the New Jersey State Constitution. PSMA's responsibility under that provision is to serve as a vehicle for two-way communication between the State as an employer and its managerial employees. The representation, however, is limited to managers who are PSMA dues-paying members of the State government. PSMA is a partner with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 30 which represents certain managers in State government. PSMA works closely with IBEW Local 30 on issues related to managers who are represented by IBEW Local 30 and those that are not eligible for representation.

PSMA's mission is to serve managers in New Jersey government by achieving and maintaining superior and ethical management service; promoting a high regard for our managers by those outside and within the government; and restoring equity to the human resource policies and practices of New Jersey government as they relate to managers.




The SUILC is Formed for A Stronger Voice for Managers!


Why a Council? We wanted to create a stronger voice for our members and we all know there is strength in numbers. Forming the SUILC was the most effective way to merge all three organizations with common goals. We all have a stake in PERS, compensation and achieving fairness and equity in the workplace, as well as ensuring a dependable retirement. Please watch your inbox for more exciting news about the Council and future newsletters from SUILC.

We couldn't have come this far without the support of our members. Please keep following us online at www.psmanj.org and talk to your fellow managers that haven't yet joined PSMA. We need your help to grow our organization and expand our membership so we can help more managers like you! Also consider joining our Board of Directors members!

Please email Lisa Ginther, PSMA Executive Director at info@psmanj.org if you have any questions, or if you're interested in joining our Board.

We ask that you speak to other managers, especially managers that supervise other managers, to get them to join PSMA - please have them visit the PSMA Website!

Thank you for your support and loyalty to the only professional organization for NJ State Managers - formed by State Managers.



Treasury Denies Central States' Bid to Cut Pension Benefits


By Shelby Livingston/Business Insurance/May 6, 2016

In a major victory for multiemployer pension plan participants, the U.S. Treasury on Friday denied an application by the Teamsters' Central States Pension Fund to slash benefits for hundreds of thousands of plan members.

The move could spare 272,600 participants of the Central States, Southeast and Southwest Areas Pension Fund from proposed benefit reductions.

"Today I notified the Central States Pension plan that its application to reduce pension benefits to hundreds of thousands of retirees was denied because the application that was submitted did not meet the requirements of federal law, the Kline-Miller statute, that governs Treasury's evaluation and analysis of all such private multiemployer pension plans," Kenneth Feinberg, special master for the Treasury Department's implementation of the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act, said during a conference call with media on Friday.

"We at Treasury have worked closely with the PGBC and the Department of Labor over the past many months to review the application in its entirety. It is unanimous that the application fails to meet the statutory prerequisites," he said.

In a statement Friday, the Central States Pension Fund said it is disappointed with Treasury's decision and will "carefully consider the most appropriate next steps." Among them, the plan could reapply and propose larger cuts.

"Although the decision by our trustees to file this application under provisions of the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 was gut-wrenching, we are disappointed with Treasury's decision, as we believe the rescue plan provided the only realistic solution to avoiding insolvency," the pension fund said.

"While today's decision by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to deny Central States Pension Fund's rescue plan will temporarily spare many from cuts to their hard-earned benefits in the short-term, it also sentences participants to an insecure retirement where massive benefit cuts are inevitable," Randy G. DeFrehn, Executive Director of the National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans, said in a statement Friday.

The national Teamsters union applauded the decision.

"On behalf of our union and the more than 400,000 retirees and participants in Central States Pension Fund, I would like to thank Mr. Feinberg and the Department of Treasury for denying these massive cuts that would destroy so many lives. We worked with thousands of retirees to educate Treasury and Congress on the devastating impact of the proposed cuts," Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said in a statement. "This decision means that there won't be any cuts to retirees' pensions this July or the foreseeable future. We will find a solution to this problem that will allow members and retirees to continue to retire with dignity."

The Central States' application was denied for three reasons, Mr. Feinberg said: It failed to show that the proposed benefit cuts would prevent the plan from becoming insolvent. It also failed to demonstrate that the reduction would be "equitably distributed among the retiree population," Mr. Feinberg said.

Finally, the notice sent to the pension plan participants announcing the proposed cuts was not "readily understandable," but was instead "technical" and "overly complex," Mr. Feinberg said.

The Treasury on Friday sent letters to the Central States Pension Fund and members of the U.S. House of Representatives, announcing the decision.

Mr. Feinberg also cautioned that the Treasury's decision pertains only to the Central States' application, and "is not to say that other private multiemployer plans that might be submitted to Treasury pursuant to this law will meet a similar result."

Five additional applications by other pension funds seeking to reduce benefits under the Kline-Miller law have been submitted, according to the Treasury's website.

In September, the Central States Pension Fund filed the proposal with the Treasury Department to cut the benefits received by 272,600 of the plan's more than 400,000 participants.

If approved, the cuts would have been allowed under a 2014 federal law meant to prevent the collapse of financially troubled plans and a Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. insurance program that guarantees a portion of participants' promised but unfunded benefits.

At the end of 2014, the Central States pension plan had $35 billion in liabilities and just $17.8 billion in assets.

The Treasury Department had until May 7 to act on the Central States plan to cut benefits.

Editor's Note: This is a major victory for private employees and helps to signal legislators that cuts to pensions are not acceptable. However, it should be noted that the Central States Plan may run out of funds in 10 years which would put the retired employees into the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation which guarantees benefits. This fund is also low and may not have enough money to cover the defaults. In any case, the benefits by PBGC would be substantially lower than present benefits.

The bigger problem is that most private and public pension funds are in bad shape in this country. It will take action by the Federal government to resolve this issue. We must continue to be vigilant and fight for our retirement benefit whether you are an active or retired State employee.
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