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NJ Judge Rules in Favor of Christie's Pension Plan

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

TRENTON, NJ - Governor Chris Christie speaks to press on March 28, the day after an internal investigation exonerates him from involvement in 'bridgegate.' Governor Chris Christie (Natalie Fertig/WNYC)

A New Jersey judge has ruled that Gov. Chris Christie can follow through with his plan to reduce the state's contributions to public workers' pension funds.

Christie says that cutting the payments that are due by nearly $900 million this year and by more than $1.5 billion next year is the only clear option for balancing the state budget after a surprise revenue shortfall.

And while Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson said protecting pensions is crucial, and workers do have a right to the payments, she said the last-minute gap left the governor with "painfully few" options. 

"He was between a rock and a hard place, in my view," she said, adding that her ruling only applies to this year's cuts, not next year's. The current fiscal year ends June 30th.

Union leaders said they were disappointed with the outcome, but will continue the fight.

"Judge Jacobson did not dismiss our complaint. She made it clear she expects to hear from us with regard to 2015.  And mark my words, she will. We will continue to fight for our members’ pensions," said Hetty Rosenstein, New Jersey Director of the Communications Workers of America. “Hundreds of thousands of people in New Jersey, and not only active employees, people like my 90 year old mother, are dependent on this pension.”

Meanwhile, the Democrat-controlled Legislature is advancing a budget plan for next year that calls for tax hikes on corporations and high-earning individuals rather than the pension payment cuts. Earlier today, Christie told a town hall audience in Camden that he planned to veto the Legislature's plan.

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Comments [2]

Fred from Brooklyn

I thought it was the judge's job to determine the legality or Constitutionality of an issue, not decide whether a public official had "painfully few" options. Determining "options" is a political decision, not a judicial one.

Jun. 26 2014 09:10 AM
Maggie Esposito from Bridgewater, NJ

Did Christie bully the judge? No doubt. How can a public official (he forgets he's a public employee, too) dismiss the entire sector of people who make the state run? NJ is third highest in educational rating in the country, who managed that feat?
No one talks about the money the state borrowed from the pension in the 1990s under Christie Todd Whitman. What about the monthly payments we have paid, what about all the concessions we have made over these last few years? We're the ones "between a rock and a hard place" with ever decreasing salaries & ever increasing bills. There isn't a teacher I know who doesn't have a second job during the school year &/or the summer.

Christie campaigned for his first term as a friend to education and to the environment. He's a friend only to the rich, to the developer, to whomever he can tap for favors. He cares only for himself, squashing anyone in his way, and since it's fashionable to squash public employees that's what he does. What goes around comes around; when he falls--and someday he will--it will be ugly. Greed is destructive.

Jun. 26 2014 09:02 AM

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