New Jersey: Voters want no pain in pension fix

August 11, 2014 – New Jersey Voters Want No Pain In Pension Fix, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Support For Bail Reform Is 4-1 PDF format

New Jersey voters offer mixed messages on how to fix the state’s public employee pension system, but only 12 percent want to increase taxes to make up the multi-billion-dollar shortfall in pension funds, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll released today.

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Public employee pensions are too high, 47 percent of voters say, while 9 percent say too low and 34 percent say pensions are about right, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.Asked how to make up the pension shortfall:

  • 12 percent of voters, including 16 percent of Democrats, say increase taxes;
  • 26 percent of voters, including 40 percent of Republicans, say find a way to reduce the amount owed to workers when they retire;
  • 53 percent of voters, including 46 percent of Republicans, 65 percent of Democrats and 47 percent of independent voters, say use a combination of increased taxes and reduced payments.

But New Jersey voters say 55 – 33 percent that public employees should not agree to accept lower pension payments in exchange for higher taxes to fund the pension system.Opposing the trade-off are Republicans 49 – 39 percent, Democrats 62 – 29 percent and independent voters 54 – 34 percent.“With Gov. Christopher Christie’s ‘no pain, no gain’ summertime tour of the state, the public employee pension system is under attack,” said Maurice Carroll, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “But New Jersey is still a labor-friendly state. Should workers accept lower payments? Most voters say no. Should taxes go up? A bigger no.”Voters disapprove 50 – 41 percent of Gov. Christopher Christie’s decision to reduce the amount paid to the public workers’ pension fund.If pension costs must be reduced, 52 percent of voters say the best way is to call on public employees to contribute more to their pensions, while 31 percent say the best way is to make public employees wait until they are older to collect pensions.“We’ll have to see what the governor’s pension study commission comes up with, but most voters think worker contributions should be raised. Some would favor a longer wait for eligibility,” Carroll said.Holding the line on taxes is helping the New Jersey economy create jobs, 68

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