To say that pension contribution and distribution is even in New Jersey is to sorta miss the boat. But it goes deeper. Just like every problem in this part of the world, when you scratch the surface you sometimes get to the issues of gender and race ( and by “race” I mean the subject that makes some white people very uncomfortable ).
Let’s do a comparison. There are roughly 224,000 workers paying into local PERS. Cost per worker is roughly $1100. Total cost to the state is $248 million per year ( if properly funded ).
For state workers paying into PERS there are 95,000 members. Cost per worker is $2300 to the state per year. Total yearly cost is $224 million.
For local cops and firefighters who pay into PFRS there are roughly 33,000 members. Cost per worker is $14,000 or so, and the cost to the state per year is $475 million.
For the state police who pay into SPRS there are roughly 3000 members. Cost per worker is $18,000 and total cost to the state per year is nearly $54 million.
In case you are keeping score, for cops that is a lot more money per worker and for the local cops twice as much in total yearly costs to the state as PERS.
But here is the stat: 75% of those paying into PERS are women and minorities. 90% paying into PFRS are males. And 96% paying into SPRS are male and at least 80% are white.
So, while there are savings to be gotten from the PERS people, there might be a higher proportion of savings per individual if more concessions were made by police and fire.
I know, I know…everyone loves cops. And these guys along with firefighers do risk their lives every day. No doubt. But, let’s make this argument too…don’t DYFS workers who intervene in family disputes also face the risk of catastrophic injury? I mean, who is safer…the cop on the beat in a suburban town with a very low crime rate, or a DYFS worker going on a scheduled home visit in Newark where there is a history of violence? I suppose it gets a bit tricky when you look at it that way.
So, maybe some reforms should go a little further, but they should be spread out to those who can afford to give up more rather than those who are already proportionately costing less.
And yes, the title of this post is from the Jon Landis 80’s gem “Amazon Women on the Moon.” The line comes during the funeral roast of the late Harvey Pitnik. This movie is worth netflixing if only to see Lana Clarkson ( murdered by Phil Spector ) actually act. And act she does.