US - The governor of New Jersey has proposed allowing the state's 566 municipalities to suspend US$540m in public pension contributions to avoid tax increases.
He said the municipalities would be required to make the full payments by 2012 under the proposal, which would require approval from the legislature.
The move came after New Jersey's mayors last week warned that making full contributions would spark property-tax increases in 2009 that would exceed the 4% cap imposed under a 2007 law.
Meanwhile, senator Bill Baroni has called for action to be taken in light of the State Investment Council's announcement that, over the last six months, the public employee retirement system had lost US$20bn in value and was now valued at under US$50bn - less than 57% of its full funded value.
Baroni said: "This historic breakdown of the public employee pension system needs to be addressed, and addressed now. For the last fifteen years, Republican and Democratic administrations have failed to properly support the system. Our public employees should not bear the burden of political failures."
He proposed a two-point plan to begin steps to recover from this breakdown. He wants to introduce legislation to create a special bi-partisan joint committee to investigate the condition of the state pension fund and to review laws regulating investments.
In addition, Baroni will send a letter to attorney general Anne Milgram asking her to investigate the potential of fraud committed in selling securities to the state and where fraud occurred to take steps to recover those losses.
Baroni added: "The legislature needs to come together now to restore the health of our pension system. My plan is a simple common sense way to approach the problem that affects our public employees- teachers, police, firefighters, state and local employees.
"The state is morally responsible to protect and restore the retirement security of our public employees. We now have 20 billion more reasons to act right now."
The registration deadline for the Workplace Savings & Benefits Awards 2019 is today.
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