Post-Defining Fair Share

Governor Christie was on his monthly radio program last night when he got a call from Bob questioning why the son of the Essex County Executive (and Chrisite political backer) Thomas DiVencenzo got a $92,000 per year NJ state job.  Christie never answered the question (though he claimed he did to justify his diversionary tirade) but seeing from the screen that Bob was a retired public employee he had the opening he needed to advance his benefit cut talking points:


Bob was barely able to defend himself on a topic he did not expect (or else he might have mentioned that Chrisite has also shorted the pension system by more money – $14.8 billion – than any other governor in history and that current NJ taxpayers would not have to be paying for current retiree benefits if these plans had been funded with any sense of responsibility) but what he elicited could have clued us in to what Christie’s grand plan for public benefits reform will look like.

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Bashing New Jersey Public Employees

In a youtube clip that got a lot of views since it was included in an story Governor Christie almost broke down when explaining how the NJEA publicized that he hates his children:

If you want hatred see what Christie, through his Attorney General’s office, said about public employees (retirees especially) in the State’s Reply Brief in Support of the Cross Petition for Certification filed today in the Berg / NJEA consolidated cases.  Among the vitriol spilled:

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Christie the Victim

Yesterday Governor Christie gave a speech at the NAACP New Jersey State Conference’s annual membership event (full video at the bottom of this blog) and his focus was on bail reform and giving drug addicts second chances.  Were I in that audience my thoughts would have run something like:

  • Rather then keeping suspected lawbreakers in a virtual debtor’s prison for lack of $250 bail money why not get more competent judges out there to work on that ‘speedy trial’ angle of the constitution.
  • Why is he telling me this? Does he believe these are the issues that effect me?
  • Is this the speech he gives in Iowa?

Then he took a swipe at the New Jersey Education Associations (NJEA) in a manner that revealed more about his own convenient misinterpretations of reality:

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When Accountants Dummy Up Actuaries’ Numbers

Union County paid Brown & Brown $20,000 to do a GASB 45 valuation for 2007 and the accountants have been using that report ever since.

The 2013 audit is now out and after I pointed out how comical the 2012 OPEB numbers were:

Note 15 on OPEBs changed considerably this time. No interceding actuarial valuation seems to have been done so the accountants were left to their own devices and this is what they came up with.

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Call the Propagandists’ Bluff

If Governor Christie really intended to replace the defined benefit system in New Jersey with 401(k)s for public employees then a report slapped together by a couple of liberal think tanks might have done him a big favor.  Think about it. The scare headline these union-backed toadies want to get out there is:

Ending pensions could cost NJ taxpayers $42 billion

Of course that’s a bogus number taken from some study on the Pennsylvania plan and based on sheer conjecture.  But, if it were true…….

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The Flaw in New Jersey’s Public Pension System

In response to what is likely to be a recommendation by the commission studying New Jersey’s public pension system to abandon defined benefit plans for public employees a couple of union-backed think tanks released a report today warning against such a move on the argument that:

There is no flaw in the basic design of New Jersey’s defined benefit pension plans, as long as these are managed well.

They are dangerously mistaken.  There is a fatal flaw.

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Favorable Conditions for New Jersey?

According to Bloomberg the “New Jersey’s Economic Development Authority is selling $525 million of bonds this week for school construction in the state’s poorest communities, the largest such sale since Governor Chris Christie took office in 2010.”

But why bond so much now after eight consecutive downgrades of New Jersey’s credit rating?

Chris Santarelli, a spokesman for Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff, said the program needs money and that the market conditions “seem favorable” for the state.

“We are aware the market watches New Jersey very carefully,’” he said. “Our concern is to ensure that our financing team provides as perfect market execution as possible. We expect a positive outcome for this pricing.”

Back on September 5 Fitch downgraded New Jersey’s overall bond rating from A+ to A but for this issue they went even lower to A- with the outlook still negative on September 24 and it is hard to find anything favorable in their press release (excerpted below with emphasis added):

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