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Christie's Call for Pension Concessions Sets Up Budget Battle With Sweeney

Governor’s State of the State initiatives target a familiar foe -- public employee unions.

By Mark Magyar, Courtesy of NJ Spotlight

Gov. Chris Christie Tuesday called for a new round of public employee pension concessions, setting the stage for a bitter budget battle with Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) over changes to their landmark pension legislation -- a confrontation in which Christie holds the ultimate power.

After a brief apology for the "Bridgegate" scandal that is already the subject of five investigations, Christie used his State of the State speech to argue that “further pension changes are needed” because the annual payments required to restore the pension system to solvency prevent the state from increasing the funding for education, crime prevention, infrastructure, and other needed programs or enacting a tax cut.

“For the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget, the increase in pension and debt service costs could amount to as much as nearly $1 billion,” Christie declared. “That’s nearly $1 billion we can’t spend on education. That we can’t invest in infrastructure improvement. That we can’t use to put more cops on the street.”

Read more at NJSpotlight.com

NJ Spotlight is an issue-driven news website that provides critical insight to New Jersey’s communities and businesses. It is non-partisan, independent, policy-centered and community-minded.

morrigan January 19, 2014 at 10:15 AM
" “Further pension changes are needed” because the annual payments required to restore the pension system to solvency prevent the state from increasing the funding for education, crime prevention, infrastructure, and other needed programs or enacting a tax cut." Oh, really? That pension money was put into the pension fund faithfully and reliably by working people. The state did not faithfully and reliably put in their share. And now they want concessions from working people? Christie is blaming cuts in education, crime prevention and infrastructure on pension payments? Not so. The cuts in those areas spring directly from the Republican notion that the rich deserve more and the rest of us should pay for it. The only thing that rings at all true is the part about tax cuts. So I get $2.96 back in my tax rebate, and the wealthy may get many thousands of dollars. I say, keep my $2.96 and put it toward filling a pothole. And keep the wealthy guy's thousands and do something that is going to help all of us!

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