You ,the Governor,the Unions, and most government workers are in agreement. The Pension system is in serious trouble and the SHBP is in serious trouble.
All agree that both need to be fixed.
The large majority now agree that the current Pension Reform legislation proposed by the Senate President is acceptable. No one likes it but it is needed. It is a fair compromise that depends on both sides making financial commitments.
So pension reform will be accomplished ,through legislation,with all parties ,at least ,holding their nose in a needed agreement.
In the case of the SHBP I am happy to see that the unions are not as adamant about making this a part of individual collective bargaining agreements. That is a good thing.
In my view since multiple ,and different ,government unions participate in the same fund,to continue basing the solvency of the fund on individual collective bargaining agreements is a recipe for disaster. A multi-union fund must be funded equally by all the unions. NJEA members cannot be paying less than CWA members ,or vice versa, and still expect to collectively have the same benefit.
This acceptance of legislating the SHBP will not destroy collective bargaining anymore than legislating the pension system destroyed collective bargaining. But, if a union,such as NJEA does not agree than the solution is simple .That union should pull out of the SHBP ,negotiate separately with their government entity ,and join another plan that is more to their liking.
But from now on, the SHBP must be legislated just like the pension plan.
So I have no problem with joining both Reforms into one bill. The Unions are upset about this. I say, ” who cares”. Once it is decided that the SHBP will be legislated then legislate it! Instead of being upset the Unions should lobby to change the bill more to their liking.
Having reviewed the SHBP Chart as provided by the Senate President I can accept my deduction as fair. I agree that those who make less should pay less.I also agree that those who want to change their plan should either pay more or less depending on their choice.
Here is my deduction schedule for a Family Plan based on a salary of $80,000. I currently pay 1.5 % of my salary or $1200/year. Under the Sweeney plan my first year deduction will be REDUCED to 1.4%. My 2nd year deduction will increase to 2.8% of salary or $2240 year, 3rd year will be 4.2% of salary or $3360year,and finally the 4th year will be 5.7% of salary or $4560/year.
On July 1,2015 I will be paying $4560/year as opposed to the current $1200/year.
I THINK THAT IS VERY FAIR!
In conclusion. No one wants to pay more for anything. However,in order to keep my level of benefits at the current level it is decided that EVERYONE in this pay category has to pay, gradually, $3360 more after 4 years then I say count me as a YES on this reform.