Hit hard by high inflation? This N.J. income tax move could bring relief, lawmakers say.

Link: https://www.nj.com/politics/2022/03/hit-hard-by-high-inflation-this-nj-income-tax-move-could-bring-relief-lawmakers-say.html

Excerpt:

A six-year old income tax reform bill accomplished something remarkable in Trenton on Monday: It got Democratic and Republican lawmakers to agree on changing your tax policy.

The state Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee approved a Republican-backed measure, S676, that’s supposed to provide relief to New Jersey workers struggling to make ends meet amid the highest inflation levels in 40 years.

The concept is simple: If inflation goes up, so would New Jersey’s income tax brackets. For many, it would mean not having to pay higher taxes if salaries go up the rate of inflation.

…..

New Jersey uses a graduated income tax, which means residents shell out a larger percentage of earnings to the state as their incomes rise into higher tax brackets. When inflation pushes wages higher, it can often result in a net loss to workers that are pushed into higher brackets.

Author(s): Derek Hall

Publication Date: 2 Mar 2022

Publication Site: nj.com

N.J. teachers need to be told the truth: Their pensions are in jeopardy | Opinion

Link: https://www.nj.com/opinion/2021/05/nj-teachers-need-to-be-told-the-truth-their-pensions-are-in-jeopardy-opinion.html

Excerpt:

The very notable exception is New Jersey’s Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF), which is by far the single-worst public pension in the Brookings study. TPAF is New Jersey’s largest public pension fund and covers all active and retired teachers. New Jersey’s Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), the pension plan for state and municipal workers, is second-worst but not nearly in the dire predicament of TPAF.

This is what Brookings had to say about TPAF: Under any of their investment return scenarios, TPAF is in “near-term trouble” — meaning near-term insolvency. Brookings projects that TPAF will run out of assets in 12-to-15 years, at which point the $4.5 billion-plus in benefits payments will have to be made from the New Jersey’s perpetually strained state budget. This would be a fiscal disaster for New Jersey and a retirement crisis for TPAF’s 262,000 beneficiaries.

Author(s): Mike Lilley

Publication Date: 5 May 2021

Publication Site: NJ.com

Murphy administration has blocked some information from the public during COVID pandemic, AP finds

Link: https://www.nj.com/politics/2021/03/murphy-administration-has-blocked-some-information-from-the-public-during-covid-pandemic-ap-finds.html

Excerpt:

Associated Press requests last year for written and electronic communications among officials about the coronavirus were denied as “overbroad,” a kind of catch-all under the state’s Open Public Records Act that permits officials to shield certain information.

The administration also cited emails among the governor’s staff as privileged under the law because they were “inter-agency” and “consultative or deliberative,” additional carve-outs that prevent the release of documents under the law.

The administration also denied public records requests seeking payment vouchers for personal protective equipment it bought, saying it would be disruptive. Asked about it late last year, Murphy said he wasn’t sure why the information was withheld and soon afterward, the state divulged a list of expenditures showing about $220 million in expenses.

Author(s): Associated Press

Publication Date: 14 March 2021

Publication Site: nj.com