Top Democrat unveils plan to revamp pensions, merge schools

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey’s top Democratic legislator has unveiled a plan he says would restore fiscal health to New Jersey and save an ailing pension system.

Among the package of bills proposed by Senate President Steve Sweeney are measures that would revamp pension plans for teachers and non-uniformed public employees, merge elementary school districts into regional K-12 school systems and require analyses of long-term tax abatements. Sweeney and Democratic Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald announced the legislation Friday with Democratic Senate Budget Chair Paul Sarlo and Republican Senate Budget Officer Steve Oroho. The legislation was developed by the bipartisan Economic and Fiscal Policy Workgroup of economists, academics, government experts and legislators.