Overhaul May Not Be Enough to Fix New Jersey Pensions

Gov. Christie's changes have slowed but not stopped growth of state's pension commitments


New Jersey's financial problems are so severe that even Gov. Chris Christie's signature pension overhaul, in which he cut back benefits as union members marched and booed, might not be enough to pull the state out of its hole, a panel of fiscal experts said on Thursday.

The State Budget Crisis Task Force, a bipartisan panel, wrote in its latest report that Governor Christie's pension effort had slowed, but not stopped, the runaway growth in the cost of New Jersey's promises to retired public workers. Officials of both parties had shortchanged pension coffers for so many years before Mr. Christie's initiative that it will prove extremely difficult to catch up now without diverting money away from other essential state programs, like education and infrastructure, the panel said.