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The secret sauce behind bloated state pensions

But no state does pension abuse like New Jersey, and no state is facing Outraged financial ruin from that abuse sooner than the Garden State. The state’s unfunded pension debt per capita is the largest in the nation, and its pension fund is on target to be the first in the nation to run dry, in 2018.

A few more amazing statistics about the state's gloomy future:

*In 2008-09, New Jersey paid 240,000 retirees about $7 billion in pensions; when free health care and other perks are added in, the cost rose to nearly $11 billion.

*Because pension reform is in the air, state workers are rushing to retire. More than 16,000 have given notice in the first three quarters of this year. New Jersey owes them about $638 million. Included in that group are 233 retirees who will earn more than $100,000 each year in pension payments, including a former community college president who will earn $195,000.

*New Jersey hasn't paid anything into its pension fund in three budget cycles, essentially raiding retirees' money to plug tax revenue holes instead -- and shrinking the time before default. Currently, New Jersey owes its pension funds $45 billion, far more than its annual tax receipts. That's about $5,000 for every man, woman and child in the state. Meanwhile, when promised pension payments for the future are calculated, New Jersey is short $130 billion, or about $44,000 for every state household.

With red ink like that, you might wonder how the state could afford to grant this year's top pension-getter, Dr. A. Zachary Yamba, $195,000 per year for life. Yamba, 72, just retired from a 30-year run as head of Essex County College in Newark, the state's largest city.

(link submitted by Frank Messenger)

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