Debt and Pensions: Fatter Than Ever in New Jersey

It was reported that New Jersey’s debt reached a record $40.4 billion in 2013 but that’s not the worst part of the Christie interregnum between Democrat minders of the status quo.

His failure to control debt on all levels (the property tax cap essentially forced localities to bond to keep their gravy trains fueled) is a footnote to the mess he has made of public pension and benefits reform.  The cycle of ineptitude is clear from this short clip of excerpts from State of the State addresses over the last four years:


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2011: needing to make ‘simple, straightforward, and sensible’ reforms

2012: after those reforms were enacted believing New Jersey to be a ‘model for America’

2013: in an election year the path pensions are on is supposed to be headed to ‘restored health’

2014: after the election: we need to have a conversation

And who will Governor Christie and his brain trust be talking to?

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The actuaries in a blatant attempt to bully them to get lower contributions regardless of reality.  Sadly, this path has a much better chance of working for him than real reform.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Tough Love on February 20, 2014 at 11:59 pm

    Quoting …”His (Christie’s) failure to control debt on all levels (the property tax cap essentially forced localities to bond to keep their gravy trains fueled) is a footnote to the mess he has made of public pension and benefits reform. The cycle of ineptitude is clear …… ”

    John, of all people, YOU fully understand the drivers of our pension problem. While we have certainly and significantly short-changed reasonable Plan funding, it’s impossible to disagree that the ROOT CAUSE of the problem is Public Sector pensions that are FAR FAR too generous.

    Christie fought like a dog to address this exact problem ,… the excessive pension generosity, and got almost no cooperation from the Democratically controlled legislature. He can’t do it alone.

    If you recall, Christie’s 2% property cap (which excludes pensions, benefits and debt service) was originally proposed to be an all-inclusive 2.5% cap. THAT would have been GREAT …. because it would have required such huge cuts in EVERYTHING ELSE, that Taxpayer would have finally realized that employee compensation (and specifically, the grossly excessive pension and benefits) are sucking up all available fund …. and perhaps finally gotten off their duffs and DEMANDED that the legislature EFFECTIVELY address it … by reducing future service accruals for all CURRENT workers.

    The entire “system” (the politicians, the Unions, the workers, the judges) is structured to maintain this self-interest …… and a to-hell-with-the-taxpayer’s attitude. Christie couldn’t possible overcome this circus of thieves.

    Reply

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