APP.com: Opinion: N.J. pensions: State must deal with budget's third rail

In August,  the Economic Policy Workgroup, established by state Senate President Steve Sweeney, D-Gloucester, with extensive participation from Republican and Democratic leadership and a volunteer group of 35 policy and fiscal experts, released the report entitled "Path to Progress." The intent of the report was to address the mounting fiscal gaps in the state budget. 

The committee did not analyze in any detail the state’s tax structure or future tax policy but rather developed series of 40 recommendations that focused specifically on reducing the cost of government and addressing the state’s long-term fiscal problems.

The goal is to draft legislation to implement many of the recommendations by early next year. 

The Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2019 was enacted in a timely fashion. It is balanced; it contains reasonable revenue estimates; it funds basic needs; it provides an increase in funding for school aid; contains an increase in dollars for the severely underfunded pension system; and contains a minimum surplus. That is the good news. However, the future is still bleak. New Jersey has the lowest credit rating of any state, except one — and has one of the worst-funded pension systems in the nation.

Read the full op-ed here.