May 30, 2012 | last updated June 1, 2012 2:54 pm

Judge: NJ doesn't have to pay retirees' COLAs

A judge has ruled that New Jersey can withhold cost-of-living adjustments for retired public employees who collect state pensions, The Associated Press reports.

The decision last week by Superior Court Judge Douglas Hurd upholds part of the state's new pension law, which denies the adjustments until the retirement systems reach targeted funding levels.

New Jersey Education Association Spokesman Steve Wollmer said Tuesday that it could take decades to reach those targets, noting the state frequently fails to meet its commitment to the funds. He said it's unfair to deny retirees the payments they have bargained and planned for, which is a reason why unions like his challenged the law.

A decision on whether to appeal Hurd's ruling hasn't been made, Wollmer said.

Along with eliminating cost-of-living increases for future retirees and those already collecting pensions, the law raised the retirement age by three years, to 65, for newly hired workers. It also required the state to begin paying its share into the retirement accounts.

Workers hired before 2008 can still retire at 60. Police and firefighters are still eligible to retire after 25 years.

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