New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had a busy Fourth of July as he signed the state’s Fiscal Year 2018 state budget, which includes the largest pension payment in state history at $2.5 billion.
The budget brings Christie’s total contributions to the state’s defined benefits funds to $8.8 billion, – more than two and a half times the combined total contributions of every New Jersey state governor since 1995. but It’s the first year that the payments will be made quarterly, a move intended to allow the fund to grow more quickly toward solvency, according to a press release.
It’s also the first year that lottery revenues will also fund the state’s pension system, a policy Christie originally proposed during his February state budget address.
Senate Bill 3312 will implement the Lottery Enterprise Contribution, generating $37 billion in pension funds over 30 years. This will provide an immediate $13.5 billion reduction in New Jersey’s long-term retiree obligations.
According to press release, the law will “immediately elevate the system’s Funded Ratio from 45 percent to 59 percent, while reducing the General Fund obligation to the system.” The release also expects the law will allow the retirement system’s funding ratio to become 90% funded by fiscal year 2047, as well as lowering the state’s budget costs.
“My Fiscal Year 2018 budget completes eight straight years of instilling fiscal sanity in Trenton, accomplished by making the difficult choices too many of my predecessors were afraid to do in the face of strong political pressures,” Christie said in the release. “New Jersey is unquestionably better than we found it eight years ago.”