May 27, 2014
By Mike Hall Reprinted from AFLCIO Website
Trenton, New Jersey – In 2011, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and the state legislature struck a deal to strengthen the state’s pension system. Workers would pay more into the fund and Christie promised the state would make higher payments into the underfunded pension plan through 2018. The workers have kept their end of the deal, but this week Christie broke his promise with an announcement that he will withhold two due payments totaling $2.43 billion.
On Thursday, more than 200 public employees—AFSCME, AFT, CWA and other members of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO unions—went to Trenton, N.J., to lobby lawmakers to force Christie to keep his pension promise.
Christie claims the pension raid is needed to balance the state budget and blames his predecessors for the underfunded pension plan. But state federation President Charles Wowkanech says trying to shift the blame is Christie’s “clever way of saying he’s ignoring the very law he signed that requires him to work the state back to full pension payment.” He adds: Pure and simple, it is yet another rhetorical budget gimmick from the governor who pledged to end budget gimmicks. His plan is to starve the system in the name of ‘reform’ and kick the can to his successor. The governor’s failure to even consider ways to create new revenues or to claw back overly generous corporate handouts smacks of putting politics before what’s right for our state.
CWA State Director Hetty Rosenstein said:
It’s time Christie realizes what everyone else knows. Cutting taxes for the super-wealthy, while stealing money from pensions hasn’t worked yet. And it won’t work this time. At every turn, Gov. Christie has chosen the path of economic instability, due to his wrong priorities and callous actions toward New Jersey’s working families.