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NJ Budget's 'Day of Reckoning' Has Arrived

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Governor Chris Christie has unveiled a plan for filling the $800 million gap in New Jersey's budget by delaying pension payments for state employees. Christie says this will save him from having to cut education funding or money for developmentally disabled or drug rehab programs.

The $800 million gap is a result of overly optimistic revenue projections and must be closed by the end of the fiscal year on June 30th. But budget problems are nothing new for the state and Christie is hardly the first governor to raid the state's pension fund to plug holes in the state budget.

So what's the problem with New Jersey? And why can't anyone seem to do anything about it?

"I think the problem really comes down to spending discipline...in terms of the level of services that we offer and the cost per unit of service that is provided," said Tom Byrne, and vice chairman of the New Jersey Investment Board, which supervises the state pension fund. "We have a day of reckoning here that's been postponed due to a variety of gimmicks, but the gimmicks have probably run out."

Guests:

Tom Byrne

Hosted by:

Soterios Johnson

Editors:

Nancy Solomon

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Comments [1]

Walter Ditman from Jackson Heights, NY

"NJ's Day of Reckoning" continues the pattern of blaming public employees for state budget gaps. The problem with this story is that it presents only one side of the issue, argued by one voice--that of Tom Byrne, vice chair of the NJ Investment Board, who clearly speaks for investors. He adds nothing new to the conversation. It is unfortunate that this story fails to consider the voice of the public sector workers who are most impacted by pension fund cutbacks. I think WNYC listeners deserve a more balanced view of this issue.

May. 23 2014 11:34 AM

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