State pension reform: A welcome step

State pension reform / Small, welcome step

Some reforms, however, remained. The bill raises the retirement age for future state workers from 60 to 62, requires government workers and teachers to earn at least $7,500 a year to receive a pension and requires employees to work a minimum of 20 hours to qualify for health benefits.

All of the pension-related measures apply only to new employees - current employees would be unaffected.

The bill also eliminates Lincoln's Birthday as a state holiday - a largely symbolic move. Gov. Jon S. Corzine promptly said he may give state workers the day after Thanksgiving again in return.

Those southern New Jersey legislators who did act courageously on this issue should be congratulated. Atlantic County Democratic Sen. James Whelan, a teacher, has had to face the wrath of his colleagues, but voted in favor of the bill. State Sen. Stephen Sweeney of Gloucester County, a union leader, and his Assembly team spearheaded the reform effort. Cape May and Cumberland county Democrats Sen. Jeff Van Drew and Assemblyman Matthew W. Milam voted yes as well, along with Ocean County's Republican legislative team.

Read the rest of the editoral online at the AC Press