Who Leads In New Jersey on Pensions?

Governor Chris Christie has no problem lecturing those in California who “like to call themselves leaders”:

or questioning “what the hell we are paying President Obama for”:

But when it comes to reforming public pensions in New Jersey according to PolitickerNJ:

“I’m trying to work with the Legislature now to see what they might agree to,” said Christie, a short time after telling the town hall crowd he heard news reports about Trenton lawmakers saying the answer to the state’s pension woes is an improved state economy.

“That’s what politicians always tell you when they don’t want to make the hard decisions,” Christie said.

The governor didn’t call out the lawmaker by name, but it was an apparent reference to Senate President Steve Sweeney and the lawmaker’s comments following Christie’s recent budget address.

And then came the warning.

“If the Legislature continues to take the position … then I will come out with my own plan,” he said. “My patience, as you might know, is not endless.”

What is endless in New Jersey are escalating property taxes (despite a tax cap that was supposed to fix the problem), people waiting for Hurricane Sandy relief (despite all the Sandy money lavished on websites and endorsers), and the wait for real pension reform.

What needs to end is this governorship.

23 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by skip3house on March 5, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    Eliminate cruel property tax.
    No assessment, collection, rebates bureaucracies.
    Highest in nation tax gone for business, homeowners, apartments.
    (Ranging from $100. to $1000.monthly, for most apt. and homeowner)
    Less taxes paid by most of us, even after a tripling of a reformed, higher brackets NJ Income tax.
    Finally, cash out DB pension plans for DC plans showing on pay stubs.


    • Posted by bpaterson on March 6, 2014 at 4:13 pm

      225 years ago, was Mr Jogger with this relevant quote: “I have been greatly abused, have been obliged to do more than my part in the war, been loaded with class rates, town rates, province rates, Continental rates and all rates … been pulled and hauled by sheriffs, constables and collectors, and had my cattle sold for less than they were worth … The great men are going to get all we have and I think it is time for us to rise and put a stop to it, and have no more courts, nor sheriffs, nor collectors nor lawyers.”


    • All taxes are theft, to the extent they are not applied equally and with direct relation to those essential functions for which the state, local and federal governments were

      I note you dont attack wealth – (i.e. the retired billionaire or the gov pensioner living off a retirement package with a net present value of millions), just those who are still out there working and successful. If the state tightens its grip to squeeze the latter more, then most or all will slip right through their fingers.

      It may have escaped your notice, but companies and workers can move, most of the high paid ones can maintain virtual offices. Why on earth should someone be asked to pay 3x the income tax against the backdrop of all the other taxes, just so you can buy off enough votes to get the taxpayers to go along with the soak the rich some more and line the pockets of the unions scheme.

      Good luck on turning NJ into Detroit. Anyone who stocks around in NJ after the next gubernatorial election is a bigger mush head than “skip”


      • Lots of typos but hopefully my ideas came through.


        • Posted by MJ on March 7, 2014 at 11:42 am

          I agree that those sucking millions off the taxpayers as a retirement should be the first to be reformed. Unfortunately, even “modest” pensions can go into the millions for everyday workers as most will paid out more than then number of years they actually worked. The calculations have been demonstrated many times on this site. When you add in sick time payouts, health care, etc. it is well into the millions over the lifetime of a retirement especially when you have publics retiring at 55 or 58 and living well into their 80s and 90s. Reform all around is needed for current and already retired and it should be done is such a way as is most fair to all the publics.


      • Posted by skip3house on March 7, 2014 at 11:58 am

        Try using actual property tax amounts (eliminated) vs, triple NJ Income tax (replaces prop. tax) for lower 95% of us


  2. Posted by Tough Love on March 5, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    Add to what need to end, are FUTURE service pension accruals for all CURRENT NJ Public Sector workers.

    Replace them with SS (for those that don’t get SS now) plus a 3-5% of pay taxpayer “match” into a 401K-style DC Plan ….just like Private Sector Taxpayers typically get today. There is no justification for MORE …… on the Taxpayers’ dime.

    Excessive GENEROSITY is the Root Cause of our problems. Funding difficulties FOLLOW from THAT root cause.


    • Posted by Anonymous on March 5, 2014 at 6:29 pm

      No mention of politician s corruption, someone pulled the wool over her eyes Maybe she is in cahoots with the crooks


      • Posted by Tough Love on March 5, 2014 at 7:25 pm

        Sorry buddy, but while our self-interested (Union bought-off) elected officials (and your Unions for their insatiable greed) are primarily at fault for the financial mess we are in, the Public Sector WORKERS are the beneficiaries of the collusion between your Unions and these elected officials, so THAT’S where Taxpayers must go to right this wrong …. the decades-long financial “mugging” perpetrated upon Private Sector Taxpayers … by reducing these grossly excessive promised pensions and benefits.


    • Posted by Anonymous on March 6, 2014 at 12:36 am

      OK TL..You made a suggestion that on its face sounds reasonable. Now your homework assignment is to calculate the entire State and Local Payrolls, then calculate the EMPLOYERS contribution to Social Security (No pass from Obama to not pay no matter how much Krispy huffs and puffs) THEN add in a 5% matching contribution to a 401K or deferred comp plan. Then break them down by pension plan, PFRS, PERS etc. Then compare that to what the State and Locals are supposed to contribute now and let us know what you come up with. No Long winded reply just the numbers would be sufficient.


      • Posted by Tough Love on March 6, 2014 at 1:17 am

        If you’ll be Specific what you’re looking for, I might be able to work up (with full mathematical detail disclosed) an answer.

        For example are you looking for the share of total pension costs paid by the workers vs the Taxpayers’ responsibility. under appropriate assumption (not the BS that NJ’s Plan’s use), ? Which Plan/what formula, retirement age ?

        Are you looking for a comparison of the generosity of Public vs typical Private Sector Plans ? Which Plan/what formula, retirement age ?

        But as they say, be careful what you wish for ………….



        • Posted by Anonymous on March 6, 2014 at 10:53 am

          TL I figured thats the reply I would get I never thought you would just answer a simple question. You are all smoke and mirrors and no real knowledge just a bunch of BS to make you sound knowledgeable. Just give me what I asked for no BS you can use 2012 figures how hard is that. My request was very specific, no tables just what would be spent VS what the pension system called for as a full contribution from everyone.


          • Posted by Tough Love on March 6, 2014 at 10:51 pm

            Quoting … “My request was very specific, no tables just what would be spent VS what the pension system called for as a full contribution from everyone.”

            As someone clearly riding this gravy train, I understand that you want your very rich “promised” pension to be fully funded ….. while ignoring the fact that those “promised” pensions were granted by elected officials bought-off with Public Sector Union money (campaign contribution and election support) and threats.

            Well, as a NJ Taxpayer, and considering that you likely earn no less (and often more) in CASH PAY than a comparable Private Sector worker, I don’t feel that the Taxpayers should contribute any more towards YOUR pension than what Private Sector employers contribute to towards OURS.

            And we, (Private Sector Taxpayers) get SOOOOO much less in pensions than what you have been promised, I’d bet that the small and sporadic pension contributions that Taxpayers have actually made over the years, actually meets that fairness test.

            If you want a fat pension, pay for it yourself.

            And Ditto for your promised retiree healthcare benefits …. where the Taxpayers generally get NOTHING from their employers.

        • Posted by Jomama on March 6, 2014 at 11:13 am

          It can’t possibly work. I’m not sure you get it. The state hasn’t made a full pension payment in 20 years. Most of the money in the plan is from the workers. Current workers are paying retirees. You can’t eliminate the pension deduction, it’s being used to pay the retirees. Compounding that with any type of matching 3% from the employer would be significantly higher than what the state is paying now. It’s a ponzi scheme with the state paying virtually nothing for 20 years and using the employees own money to pay retirees.


        • Posted by skip3house on March 6, 2014 at 12:57 pm

          Multitudes of numbers gathered together may obscure the reasoning NJ needs a reformed retiree system to include present retirees.
          Recent years have reduced the Pension fund as billions of dollars have been paid out more than deposited. This deficit grows every day as more retire. Feeble fixes such as partial NJ payments described as timely corrections……
          Easy to see the fund runs dry in maybe 5 years, with final payouts only being possible using current employee and NJ payments.
          Logic of ‘Better to have a promise than nothing,’ by a NJEA math teacher has run its course, as NJEA officers and politicians knew perfectly well.

          NJ must confront the facts/trees, including the NJ retiree medical $6 billion yearly, now.
          Never mind getting lost in a forest of trivial studies


          • I say lay off the entire lot and start over based on merit.

          • Posted by skip3house on March 7, 2014 at 11:40 am

            TL, Your thoughtful reply touches the force not reckoned with much.
            Why will current/future taxpayers support lifestyles of NJ retirees based on past service, but expecting ‘today….’ people to pay the promised pensions?
            We need more on the costs to these taxpayers who are burdened with past obligations/promises. Will their lifestyles be lowered, and current services be affordable, plus honoring partially unbilled obligations of the past?
            We have the real costs here of covering the past insufficient premiums for NJ retirees, but will numbers be presented to show the unfair lower lifestyles of current taxpayers to pay these old promises? Only with true taxpayer costs, today and on into…., can we see the whole picture, not just the effect on retiree lifestyles.
            Are we, today…., willing and able to pay taxes of a true (to be calculated) amount to honor past ill advised promises that ‘bought the services and generous, with obvious unsound financing, retirement’, of NJ retirees, and just what is that amount?

  3. Posted by truthnolie on March 6, 2014 at 9:15 am

    “My patience, as you might know, is not endless.”

    …..unlike his appetite.

    What this idiot doesn’t realize is he has lost his edge and everyone sees him for what he is….a playground bully who got his comeuppance (w/ more to come hopefully) and now he’s just a pathetic joker still trying to talk tough.

    Let him come up with his “own plan”…..see how far he can get it to go being a lame duck (whale?) governor with a power player (Sweeney) looking to get back in with & make amends with PE’s and the unions & wanting support in the next election.

    Christie = Scut Farkus (bully in the Christmas Story movie who ran the town until he was put in his place by Ralphie via a beatdown)


  4. Posted by MJ on March 6, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    @truthnolie, instead of calling names and hurling insults, why don’t you focus on solutions to making the much needed reforms before it is too late. You can call names all you want but the real numbers don’t lie. I would venture to say that you have something to lose and this is your way of trying to convince yourself that all if ok. Why don’t you rally your fellow publics and demand that the pensions be reformed so that you all have time to make adjustments if needed. Surely, you can’t believe that this can go on forever and ever.


    • Posted by Tough Love on March 6, 2014 at 10:04 pm

      Yes, reforms ….meaning very material pension reductions for all CURRENT (State AND Local) workers … and without ANY Tax increases (we are ALREADY taxed more than almost everywhere else, especially via Property Taxes).

      Greed HAS consequences.


      • Posted by skip3house on March 7, 2014 at 12:24 am

        TL. Believe Mr. Bury, couple three years ago addressed existing retirees getting ‘high’ payouts. Phrase ‘compression downward’ comes to mind, as lowest pensions should not be lowered more.
        Do you not think present retirees should share this new fairness, as you say here ‘CURRENT workers’? Regards.


        • Posted by Tough Love on March 7, 2014 at 12:57 am

          In general no, I DON’T like the idea of lowering already accrued pension accruals for PAST service (both for actives and retirees).

          I CERTAINLY feel it IS necessary, just, and fair to reduce the FUTURE service pension accruals for all CURRENT workers to a level no greater than what Private Sector workers typically get from their employers, and doing so (when BOTH the richness of the formula AND the richness of the provisions) are considered) requires 50-75% reductions from current levels (with the biggest reductions for safety workers).

          I must admit that I am conflicted as to givebacks for PAST Service accruals…..

          Clearly they were promised too much (by crooks in collusion), and from a pure fairness standpoint taking back that excess doesn’t seem “wrong”, yet I understand that for RETIREES, lifestyles/commitments can make givebacks quite complicated. So lets say, I’m Ok with a sliding scale of pension reductions (for retirees) starting with 0% reduction at $50k and increasing to 50% at $250K.

          I’m less conflicted (with respect to reductions) for those still working. Basically, join the rest of us (in the Private Sector world) and work a little (maybe a LOT) longer. So here’s a shot at a reduction formula with respect to reductions in PAST service accruals for those still active …… 0% reduction at $25K to 50% reduction at $200K … but grading smoothly into my above formula reductions for those ALREADY … for those within 5 years of full (unreduced) retirement age. Example: for someone ONE year from full retirement age, the formula would call for reductions of 0% at $45K rising to 50% at $240K)

          The above being said, NJ is a “special” case, and because we are in such dire straights (pension-wise), my FUTURE service reductions suggested above, while appropriate and “fair” do nothing to address our current distress. And even the giveback I suggested for PAST service of actives and retirees may be insufficient to prevent a NJ Plan asset run-down to zero with the resultant pay-go and unacceptable tax increases. As such, even greater reductions may be needed.


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