- Associated Press - Friday, February 13, 2015

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - The state’s latest debt report shows New Jersey’s obligations increased in the last fiscal year by $381 million, or about 1 percent, the smallest increase of Gov. Chris Christie’s administration.

The New Jersey Office of Public Finance published a report Friday showing bonded debt rose from $41.5 billion to $41.8 billion from June 30, 2013 to June 30, 2014.

Meanwhile non-bonded obligations including the state’s public pension system ballooned by $4.8 billion.

Treasury spokesman Joseph Perone said that despite agreements to reform the pension system, the benefits “continue to be unsustainable.”

Christie and the Legislature agreed to benefits payments in 2011, but a funding gap last year resulted in Christie’s slashing payments.

Perone said additional reform is needed to make debt more affordable.

Democratic state Sen. Paul Sarlo was critical of the administration and placed responsibility for some of the non-bonded debt growth on Christie.

“The pension portion of this growth is partially attributable to the administration’s inability to live up to the bipartisan commitment they made to ramp up to full funding of the state’s pensions systems as required under the landmark reform legislation signed into law in 2011,” Sarlo said in a statement.

The report also showed that over the next five fiscal years, state allocations for debt service will increase by $700 million per year on average.

The report comes as Christie and the Legislature prepare for budget negotiations. The governor is expected to deliver his budget address to lawmakers on Feb. 24.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide