Press of Atlantic City: Sweeney candid on pensions in push for true fiscal reform

State Senate President Steve Sweeney’s bipartisan task force has delivered an impressive list of recommendations on how to restore financial responsibility to state government.

With the state straining to pay the interest on $48 billion in bonded debt and facing a $152 billion shortfall in funding government worker pension and retiree health benefits, spending reforms are long overdue.

Sweeney says the recommendations of the N.J. Economic and Fiscal Policy Workgroup are an alternative — the only one so far — to the state’s current practice of just raising taxes every year. He told The Press editorial board recently that if people “don’t like my plan, fine, give me something, your plan … and if it’s just raising taxes, that’s not a plan.”

He and fellow legislators will make the proposals central to a campaign for true fiscal reform that will include several months of town halls and news conferences around the state. They will give taxpayers their best and perhaps only significant shot at cutting the cost of state government, and progressives a path to finding funds for the investments they seek in New Jersey’s future.

Read the full editorial here.