Christie’s Deceit

New Jersey governor Chris Christie proudly proclaims that his 7/1/13 – 6/30/14 budget “fully funds the pension contribution” and goes on to say:
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“Just three years ago, our pension system was in ruins. Governors and the budget leaders in the legislature had been making little or no contributions. The system was not sustainable. Our police officers, our firefighters and our teachers were right to ask if their pensions would even be there when they retired.

Together, on a bipartisan basis, we enacted needed and historic pension and health benefit reforms. By making modest, but important and sensible changes to retirement age and incentives, to COLAs, to contributions from government employees, we saved the taxpayers $120 billion and put the pension system on much more sound footing. And we have continued to invest wisely in a diversified fashion, outperforming most other states and large endowments.

Today, our pension system is on a path to restored health. So I can say with confidence and some pride to you today that this budget contains a record pension payment by the state: $1.676 billion for Fiscal Year 2014, the largest pension contribution ever made by New Jersey. This will fund the third year of the landmark, bipartisan pension reform we enacted two years ago, and on the terms we agreed to.

And one message to those naysayers and perpetual cynics who refused to fund the pension on their own watch and opposed our reforms to protect the monied special interests: our citizens are fortunate that your type of politics is dying in Trenton. Our pension system is alive as a result.

It is a key step in showing what can be done if we come together to face up to our long-term liabilities, and address them head on in a spirit of principled cooperation.”

What he does not say is that fully funding a contribution amount that you get to make up yourself is not the same as fully funding the plan. That $1.676 billion state contribution is, by law, 3/7ths of the recommended ARC of $3.91 billion*.  He could have also correctly claimed that his budget ‘only’ shortchanges the pension by $2.234 billion*.

This wouldn’t be so disturbing if it weren’t for the hypocrisy involved in calling prior administrations reckless and deceitful when you’re continuing the deceptions.

Next week the 6/30/12 actuarial valuations will be released and if my projections pan out they will show the underfunding ballooning to $50 billion* with a funded percentage of 62%* even after taking into account the COLA elimination.  Three years ago the numbers were $46 billion* and 66%*.  Where is he leading?

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* A ridiculously understated number to begin with.

5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Anonymous on February 26, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    You fools voted for Christie. He lied and you believed him out of desperation. Jon Corzine told the truth and you hated his guts for it. How dare he tell the truth, its too much for us. Christie on the other hands lies and that is all you can stand. It suits you just right.

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  2. Posted by Anonymous on February 26, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    Ok so he funded the pension by 1.67 billion. That is still a lot of loot! When does this thing die? All we do is talk about it and project and speculate? When does it end for good? Doesn’t sound to me that it is going anywhere but in the pockets of the scammers and liars. I’m voting for Seth Grossman in the primary. At least he is telling it like it is.

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  3. Ok so he put 1.67B into the pension. That’s a lot of loot!! When does this thing ever die? All we do is discuss and speculate and rant. I’m voting for Seth Grossman in the primary. At least he puts it out there what the real issues are that are killing NJ! We were fools to vote for Christie!

    Reply

  4. Posted by Maceo on February 27, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    He has done more harm than anyone since Christie the 1st. Here are his accomplishments: 1. Scaring 25% of workers into early retirement making them collectors instead of contributors. 2. Taking the increased employee contributions and “crediting” local governments accrued liability by that amount instead of using it to fund the system. 3. Rejected an offer to reduce COLA to only include those making less than the average pension (50k). 4. Taken seven additional deferments to come up to a full payment which will not be a full payment when year seven arrives. 5. Encouraged more triple dipping, phantom pensions by private employees (NJLOM). 6. Stashed his patrons in Port Authority jobs. 7. Make the employee pay more for healthcare while letting the insurance companies raise rates at will negating the effect of employee contributions. Here is what he should have done: 1. Put a cap on all state pensions at the S.S. maximum salary (103k). 2. Provide incentives not dis-intensives to keep people in their jobs as long as they are productive. 3. Enact one worker=one pension reform. 4. Keep all future elected officials and their appointees out of the pension system. You can’t have the foxes guarding the hen house. 5. Have a plan that gradually moves towards a defined contribution plan which would have to include a hybrid plan for current employees. 6. Cap NJSHBP at 2% increases so they can share the sacrifice. His goal appears to be to destroy the system. He can take credit for that in 2014 when Mr. Chips goes off to Washington on his campaign.

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  5. Posted by Anonymous on March 6, 2013 at 2:24 am

    In regards to MJ’s and Anonymous’s comments above… NOT SO FAST!

    Christie did NOT just put $1.67B into the pension fund. He put nothing $0 in his first fiscal year. He put in $484M this past 6/30/12 (last day of Fiscal year 2012). He is scheduled to put in $1.1B this upcoming 6/30/13. The $1.67B you are reading about in the papers would not be paid into the pension funds until 6/30/14!

    Reply

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