Yesterday?s Press editorial highlights the need to confront the rampant abuse in New Jersey?s Pension System. One seemingly common sense reform would be to allow elected officials that would like to opt out of the pension system to do so. Yet, current state law requires that all newly-elected officials enroll in the state?s pension program.

The situation has lead Freeholder McDevitt to conclude that, ?Only in New Jersey can it be illegal to give the taxpayers back their money.? Freeholder Candidate Tom Ballistreri added, ?Laws such as these defy common sense.?

Ballistreri and Aponte want any elected officials who want to opt out of the system to have the ability to do so. If elected, they will work with Assemblymen Amodeo and Polistina to change the law. If they are successful, Ballistreri and Aponte have even pledged to join Freeholders McDevitt and Dase in immediately opting out.

?New Jersey residents pay the highest property taxes in the nation, and our state government is on the verge of bankruptcy. Any time there is an opportunity to enact reforms that will protect taxpayers, we should take them,? said Aponte.

Freeholders McDevitt and Dase introduced a resolution at a Freeholder meeting earlier this year calling on legislators to change the law and allow elected officials to opt of the pension system.

Unfortunately, the vote broke down along party lines when Freeholder Garrett voted against it, and Alisa Cooper decided that she rather abstain than take a position. All of the Republican Freeholders voted in favor of the resolution.

Atlantic County needs more freeholders who are willing to take a stand and confront the serious challenges in front of them. In times like these the last thing taxpayers need are politicians who refuse to take a stand on one of the most important issues they face, or those that are perfectly alright with the status quo.

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