Pension Deal Announced in New Jersey

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Democratic Assemblyman in New Jersey Reed Gusciora and Mark Magyar, Rutgers professor and blogger discuss the pension deal announced yesterday by Governor Christie and the New Jersey State Senate and Assembly.


Reed Gusciora and Mark Magyar

Comments [18]

Ron Raphael

For somebody in the party that wants to eliminate government from politics, why i this non-believer going behind closed doors and negotiating with government officials,only concerning Walkeresque types of politics? Is he afraid to negotiate with the people who represent the workers? Also, does he intend to share his salary with the others in his stste; or is he only going to fly helicopters to baseball games?

Jun. 16 2011 01:17 PM

What you say is probabably interesting, jawbone, unfortunately it's barely readable so hard to know what you're trying to say

Jun. 16 2011 12:27 PM
Joe from "Jersey"

If you claim you're from "Joisey" then you aren't.
The only people who pronounce it "Joisey" are from Brooklyn.

(No giggle.)

Jun. 16 2011 12:15 PM
Jerry R from Maplewood, NJ

Some interesting facts about public employee pensions in NJ:

For police and fire and other public employees, the employees contribute a percentage of their salaries and the local entities (municipal and/or county governments) also make a contribution, the $$ amount of which is set by the state. For many years beginning during the Whitman administration and continuing for a LONG time, the state granted local entities a "pension holiday", basically saying that the pension fund was so healthy that the matching contribution was unnecessary... net effect was giving local governments the opportunity to cut their costs and slow the growth of local property taxes.

Local entities had a tough time phasing their pension contributions back in, and have recently been permitted to defer their matching contributions.

For teachers, the employees contribute a percentage of their salaries to the teacher's pension fund, which is matched from the state's budget.

The state has not made a contribution into the teacher's pension fund for quite some time.

The absence of state payments (or in the case of non-teachers, the absence of the local government match) is what's endangered the health of the pension funds in NJ.

Suggesting that the employees have not paid in, or have somehow caused the problem, is not fair because it is just not correct.

Jun. 16 2011 12:09 PM

Re: Fact that pols didn't fund pensions

Amy, the MCM (Mainstream Corporate Media) has accepted and acceptable Narratives.

Reminding voters that their political leaders did not fund the pension funds for 10 years (is that all, btw?) does NOT fit into the the current Austerian talking points and anti-public employees stands in both parties.

(Sometimes I wonder how Cuomo the Younger got to be such a Republican Lite! How did Mario raise that son of his? What is happening to these current Dem leaders?)

We so desperately need a new political party -- perhaps better, we need to TAKE BACK the Democratic Party from the Neolib Corporatists. The latter will be difficult since they do have the Big Money donors....

Jun. 16 2011 11:24 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Why did it take listeners to bring up the fact that the NJ gov't. has illegally failed to make its contributions to the public employee pension funds for >10 years? I would expect Brian's guests to bring something like this up w/out needing to be prompted.

Jun. 16 2011 10:43 AM
Liam from East Elmhurst Joisey

Trashy trash going on in New Jersey.
Are you fom Joisey???
I'm fom Joisey!

If Cuomo plays it right, we could get all their talent.

Jun. 16 2011 10:31 AM

A proposal: Let state gov'ts unilaterally adjust all the contracts they have with corporations and private businesses to lower the payments they must make. And, when businesses complain that the states are violating contract agreements, we say to them "Don't you get it? Everyone has to sacrifice."

Jun. 16 2011 10:29 AM
Sharrona from Nassau

This shared sacrifice line is old. I guess they have had no complaints as property taxes have been ballooning year after year to pay for these union members. I make under 50k per year so I do not qualify as a millionaire, obviously, but I think its time to start reforming benefits and pay for public employees now. In this climate if these employees were at will, the jobs would be filled at half of what they are paying now, It shows something is incredibly wrong. Taxpayers cannot and will not pay more.

Jun. 16 2011 10:28 AM

BTW, the reason the pension funds are in trouble in NJ is that the political leaders did not make the necessary payments into the pension funds.

It's sort of like Bush-Cheney raiding the Social Security Trust Fund to make it look as if all those tax cuts for the very wealthy were "affordable."

Now we see not only Republicans but also Democrats of the Corporatist bent, with Obama being one of those, spouting the Republican talking points and agreeing that, hey, the money's been used, so let's go after Social Security, first future retirees and, I'll bet, soon those Greedy Geezers getting SocSec.

Reminder: Beginning in the mid-80's, Tip O'Neill and Ronald Reagan made one of those Grand Bargains (which somehow turn out to be grand for the wealthy and not so grand for the little people) and we all began to pay more toward our SocSec, "paying forward" to fill the trust fund so that the Baby Boom bulge would be covered.

That's the money Bush/Cheney gave to the Uberwealthy.

How do you like them apples, citizens???

And, now NJ Dems are laying down for the Republican Austerians and Uberwealthy fluffers.

Why should anyone vote for these jokers?

We need a party which represents the real needs of real people, those who are not Uberwealthy.

Jun. 16 2011 10:27 AM
Louise Berenson from UWS

Do NJ public employees participate in Social Security?
This is also a pension system which both employer and employee participate, and should not be ignored when discussing retirement.

Jun. 16 2011 10:25 AM

higher contributions for pension and health care = a pay cut for public workers. they will be unable to buy goods and services as they used to.
200million given to Panasonic to move to Newark form Jersey City and another tax break to build a mall in Secaucus does not help NJ's financial situation.
Chirsties plan will mean a downward spiral for job creation and tax revenue.
Capital is accruing to the top and what investments are there to make if most people have no money to spend??

Jun. 16 2011 10:25 AM
Steve from NYC

Tax the rich, end the wars. Budget problems solved.

Jun. 16 2011 10:24 AM
Amy from Manhattan

I've been to rallies where the labor contingent carried signs that said, "We are all Wisconsin." I don't think this is what they meant!

Jun. 16 2011 10:23 AM
Sharrona from Nassau

What a fantastic move! What can be done to allow something like this to happen in NY? To have public employees complain about such a move is nonsense. The sliding scale is a great idea. With so many public employees making 6 figure plus salaries on Long Island - teachers 100k+, police , 180k+ superintendents 250k+ (not including benefits,payouts,etc, etc,etc) this would help tax payers like myself who cannot afford their own health insurance and meet my ever increasing property tax burden.

Jun. 16 2011 10:22 AM
Marc from Brooklyn

Re the public school teacher from Jersey City:

For decades, we've been hearing that unless public sector wages and benefits are maintained at their current levels, then the quality of service rendered by public sector employees will decline. I'm still waiting for them to improve -- one iota. In both NY and NJ high school diplomas aren't worth the paper they're printed on. Surly NJ Transit bus drivers are not only consistently late, they actually fight -- physically -- with passengers when they traipse on off for coffee chit-chat at Port Authority Bus Terminal. So please, don't threaten us with declining service. When public employees simply meet the standard of service to which their wages oblige them then their threat may carry some weight. Until then, it's a joke.

Jun. 16 2011 10:22 AM

Yes, Fabio Carasi! You've nailed it: I remember how businesses would be sold, then the workers' pensions would be raided. After the pensions were basically used to pay for a leveraged purchase, the business would be sold yet again, and the workers would find they were getting pennies on the dollar of what they were told they get as pensions -- IF they got anything at all.

And now we have both R's and D's doing it.

Anyone think we need a political party which actually gives a rat's tail about the less than Uberwealthy?

Time to de-register as a Democrat.

Jun. 16 2011 10:19 AM
Fabio Carasi from Montclair

So, the politicians "finally" learned to raid pension funds, the way business sharks have been doing since the golden days if Michael Milken....
Great progress for a great nation.

Jun. 16 2011 10:12 AM

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