Can Governor Christie SAVE Your Pension?

So asks the feature story in the March, 2014 issue of NJBlueNow to which I provide the answer on page 30.

39 responses to this post.

    • Posted by Jomama on March 18, 2014 at 11:50 am

      15 Million dollars in fees for wall street, while under performing the S and P 500 by about 1/3. Crook!!!!!! Gee, I wonder who is going to be asked to cover this 15 million!

      Reply

  1. Posted by haz on March 18, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    You are right the fees the brokers charge are crazy! I am glad i retired and rolled my 457 to Vanguard. I wish state could do the same with our pension! Low cost Index funds Check out “The Retirement Gamble” FrontLine documentary

    Reply

    • I am waiting for Obama to include the public sector ticks in the so called 1% based on the net present value of their pension payouts (calculated, of course, on how much you need to invest at sub 1% interest to get the kind of payouts these uneducated ticks expect to get in retirement).

      Reply

      • Posted by Maceo on March 18, 2014 at 7:02 pm

        Sounds like somebody failed the entrance exam.

        Reply

        • Posted by Javagold on March 18, 2014 at 8:30 pm

          Just because I can get a permit to rape the populace, doesn’t mean it’s just or I should lower myself to such scumbaggery.

          Reply

        • Posted by truthnolie on March 19, 2014 at 1:29 pm

          @ Maceo

          “Sounds like somebody failed the entrance exam.”

          HAHAHA!!…..exactly……restating my previous post to Brian D. (he may have not read it yet since his break from the drive thru window isn’t till later):

          You stated above you were a volunteer firefighter……figures……typical blue light whacker who couldn’t pass the test to get on as a paid firefighter with a pension and benefits & reduced yourself to working at a job you hate….huh??? Now you spew your jealousy & rage about not making the cut by attacking those who were better & smarter than you……Yeah..it shows

          Reply

          • Dude, I am a registered patent attorney and the only public sector job I ever held was a two year stint as a patent examiner back in the early 90s. Before that, I had the displeasure of having worked at Westinghouse as a mfg plant in NC where I encountered the union mentality for the first time. It did wonders for Westinghouse, which no longer makes anything these days.

            Anyway, laugh it up. Yes, I was a volunteer firefighter and even an elected commissioner for my fire district for a few years. What of it? Its not jealousy or rage – at this point it is just pity – for those taxpayers still left in NJ to hold up the legs of the trough you bloated public sector pigs are still slopping at.

            If the truth hits a little close to home, too bad. Maybe when NJ secedes and can coin its own money your pensions will get paid.

          • Posted by Tough Love on March 19, 2014 at 7:55 pm

            Wow, You’re quite the A*hole, insulting volunteer firefighters.

            Clearly, they’re NOT in it for the grossly excessive pensions ….. as are many PAID safety workers.

  2. Posted by Anonymous on March 19, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    The pensions will be paid. COLA, or more accurately 60% COLA, maybe not, but pensions will be paid. It’s real simple, there is no mechanism to reduce pensions, it does not exist. Those of you who wish the state could declare bankruptcy discount what that would do to Wall Street and the bond holders–can’t have that. Raise taxes, pay the bill–cheer up, maybe they’ll be an outbreak of the plague or something. The discussion should be HOW they get paid, not IF, that is not up for discussion.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on March 19, 2014 at 7:59 pm

      Keep dreaming. Once Pay-Go hits, your pensions are toast.

      Reply

    • Posted by truthnolie on March 19, 2014 at 8:20 pm

      Been saying the same thing all along brother…..but they won’t get it….

      Most of them, especially the old withered & bitter shrew Tough Love, has a vision in their head that everyone will riot & march out of NJ if they try to raise taxes (with her apparently fifing the way the other idealistic idiots who think like her) to pay for the pensions…..Won’t happen as too many are tied to their families, jobs, communities, etc. to just pack up en masse and leave.

      The majority will do as always…..bitch and moan about it and then pay it because they have no other real option…. nor will TL or her clan…..however they should feel rewarded in knowing that their money is going to people who served the public admirably, were a credit to society and who are the best of us!!

      Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on March 19, 2014 at 8:43 pm

        Just in case anyone missed it above (re your response to Brian the volunteer freighter) ….. I’ll repeat my earlier response to your comment to Brian:
        ————————————————————————————
        Wow, You’re quite the A*hole, insulting volunteer firefighters.

        Clearly, they’re NOT in it for the grossly excessive pensions ….. as are many PAID safety workers.

        Reply

        • Posted by truthnolie on March 19, 2014 at 9:11 pm

          ***Correction

          Insulting an A-hole volunteer fighter (singular) who is no doubt upset that he couldn’t make it as a paid public worker who now chooses to denigrate & deify those who could.

          But that’s quite like you….taking a comment and putting a spin on it to try to make it look worse and you look better……you sure you don’t work for Christie??…you’d fit RIGHT IN!!!

          I know many volunteer firefighters who are great guys…..they don’t hold a grudge (and SHOCKER!!!….some are public employees!!!) and agree that pe’s are getting screwed over & blamed by your fellow hater Christie when the blame is on him & his cronies. They also know better (unlike you and your ilk) not to let themselves be brainwashed and hand fed BS like you half wits allow yourselves to be.

          Reply

      • Posted by Jomama on March 21, 2014 at 2:33 pm

        The debate grows tiresome. Same thing over and over, they won’t get paid, crisis, oh no what will happen.

        Here’s what will happen, they’ll raise taxes, or maybe forgo the 2Billion in corporate tax brakes that were given, that haven’t generated a single job.

        Reply

  3. Posted by MJ on March 19, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    @Truthnolie. Obviously you do not get conceptual situations. What I think TL might mean by taxpayers refusing higher taxes is that those who can will move to lower tax states as will businesses and corporations. RE taxes, fees, etc are the highest in the country so many lower income people will walk away. Others will sell their homes for way less in an already horrible economy. Older people will retire elsewhere and some will simply not becablevto afford taxes that are higher than a mortgage payment. So the pensions will be paid but at a reduced amount. Probably will gave to pay for your own health benefits too. It’s only a matter of time. Think RI, Detroit, cities in CA, etc. you should welcome significant reform to ensure that you get something. Please stop your name calling and angry outbursts

    Reply

    • Posted by truthnolie on March 19, 2014 at 9:23 pm

      MJ,

      A polite and reserved conversation can be had with you since (even though we might disagree) you seem to be even keeled and not an hysterical, ranting PE hater….can’t say the same for others esp. you know who.

      While I disagree with you that there will be massive flight due to an increase in taxes (sure there will be some) as many people have established families, homes, friends, jobs, schools, etc. and would not just up and leave as some envision.

      You also mentioned CITIES (exc. RI – pension changes still up in the air)….those plans were city-controlled (JB was fond of mentioning Pritchard Alabama a ways back) & sponsored plans……cities can declare bankruptcy…..states cannot and all public pension plans in NJ are state ones.

      I can also see changes for future public employees and those not yet vested but cannot agree that any changes should be made to retirees or those vested especially since they have always paid into the plans (no provision to NOT pay in for employees) while successive governments/politicians skipped or took from the plans leading them to where they are today.

      Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on March 19, 2014 at 11:00 pm

        I don’t really believe the needed pension reductions will come about from those now living here moving (although outside business and productive individual immigration will certainly slow)..

        The pension changes will come when we hit pension pay-go and the politicians, realizing the huge and untenable tax increases needed to continue paying you, will change sides and support REAL change. I can see all of the following being impacted, likely in order:

        (1) retiree healthcare promises
        (2) pension accrual rates for future service of CURRENT workers, with perhaps a complete DB Plan freeze with a switchover to a DC Plan for future service
        (3) rollbacks of past “retroactive” increases with respect to service prior to the law’s enactment
        (4) if it gets bad enough, cuts in past service accruals for actives (and perhaps those already retired) …ala Detroit

        Bon Voyage !

        Reply

        • And just remember the State Constitution can be amended merely by putting the question to a public vote. Watch what happens to the so-called Constitutional guarantee. Again, the government which has the power to give the pst everything they want also has the power to take it all away from them, and it will.

          Reply

        • Posted by MJ on March 20, 2014 at 6:24 am

          Sorry TL didn’t mean to put words in your mouth. However i do believe that many are making their exit plans out of NJ selling homes for much less and needier people moving in.
          Your scenario seems likely but it is anyone’s guess

          Reply

  4. The folks in Illinois are grappling with the same issues:

    http://my.chicagotribune.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-79662222/

    “It is a campaign that probably should have been waged years ago, but politicians were happy to buy the support of public-sector unions with tax dollars.

    Now taxpayers are squeezed and businesses are leaving, taking jobs with them. Cops, firefighters, teachers and other public workers are stuck between two opposing political gravitational fields:

    Promises from their union leaders and establishment politicians that can’t be kept, and businesses already leaving Illinois.

    “It’s going to be ugly, and by Labor Day people won’t even want to turn on their TVs because of all the ads,” said a senior Illinois Democrat, who thinks Pat Quinn has only one route to re-election. “He’s got to turn it into a class war. What else does he have to talk about?”

    Rauner will be demonized. The wealthy hedge fund manager has dared to threaten the power of the public employee unions that wag the government dog. And Quinn casts himself as the people’s champion.

    Labor will demand Rauner’s demonization, as will the national Democratic Party. Look for President Barack Obama to campaign in Illinois, and play his Mitt Romney card. Whether it will work on Rauner or not, I don’t know, but he’ll play it.

    The national Democrats have already decided on class war as their strategy for the midterm elections. It beats talking about the disasters of Obamacare.

    So demonizing Rauner — using the template already set out by the public unions who backed GOP rival Kirk Dillard — is the game plan.

    Rauner is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. He has more houses than you can count on one hand. He’s a hunter, a fisherman, he rides a Harley and he drops his “g’s” in his public statements, something he probably didn’t learn at Dartmouth.

    But for all the “g” dropping, Rauner is one of the oligarchs who see the problem clearly. The money is gone.

    Quinn, meanwhile, is no longer the hapless Gov. Jell-O of my earlier columns. Now he has razor-sharp elbows. A class war is just what he needs.

    But he’s also the governor of a state that is drowning in debt and has unsustainable public pensions. The alliance between the politicians and public-sector unions has created an untenable situation”

    It will be a close race to the bottom for NJ and IL

    Reply

  5. Posted by dentss dunnagan on March 20, 2014 at 11:07 am

    “One certified public accountant quoted in the study said he lost 95 percent of his high net worth clients. Other tax attorneys report similar results.”….High wage earners, who constitute only 1 percent of the population in the state, pay 42 percent of the personal income taxes collected. The state collects $10 billion in personal income taxes and high-income residents pay $4.2 billion of that total. Personal income taxes account for 39 percent of the state’s total income.http://freebeacon.com/born-to-run-away-from-high-taxes/

    Reply

  6. Posted by truthnolie on March 20, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    Forget NJ Blue Now…… THE BEST article I’ve ever read that synopsizes all the issues, changes, non-changes, not able to be changed, etc. is here:

    http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/14/02/28/analysis-christie-sweeney-and-the-limits-of-pension-reform/?p=all#comments

    Anti pension malcontents, PE haters, et al go there read, get educated, weep, drink, scream loudly in an empty room or outdoors to no one in particular about your plight then come back here and post your attempts at trying to take apart the facts (bet you can’t do it with taking everything out of context…..but something tells me you’ll try!)

    My favorite part (and there are many…some in the comments also):

    “While New Jersey’s state constitution does not provide protections to pension benefits similar to New York and some other states, the Communications Workers of America, the state government’s largest union, traded their support for a controversial pension-refinancing scheme in 1997 for Republican Gov. Christine Todd Whitman’s support for a law that expressly “confers on a public employee a non-forfeitable right to pension benefits established by law after the employee has served for five years.”

    Through that 1997 law, New Jersey essentially established pension benefits as contractual rights. That extended the provisions in the United States and New Jersey Constitutions prohibiting the impairment of a contract to prevent any reduction in pension benefits for retirees or current employees vested in the pension system, as Corzine’s Attorney General’s Office and the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services warned when lawmakers asked in 2006 if they had the right to roll back current benefits.”

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on March 20, 2014 at 11:44 pm

      Well let’s hope Christie exercises those “significant powers” he has to fix this pension mess … by concentrating NOT on tax increases, but on the ROOT CAUSE of the problem, the grossly excessive pension & benefit promises made to ALL of NJ’s Public Sector workers, and materially reduces those promises for the future service of all CURRENT workers

      Reply

    • Posted by MJ on March 21, 2014 at 7:24 am

      Truthnolie. Although I did not read the entire article the portion in your quotes pretty much acknowledges that it was a “scheme” hatched btw politicians and unions. Doesn’t appear to be on the up and up and I’m sure it would be challenged as such. As I’ve stated many times PE will receive pensions most likely with significant reductions as math and economics can be twisted only so far. This problem isn’t unique to NJ it is a major problem pretty much everywhere. As I’ve said it is anyone’s guess as to how it will play out.

      Reply

      • Posted by truthnolie on March 21, 2014 at 7:38 am

        http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/14/02/28/analysis-christie-sweeney-and-the-limits-of-pension-reform/?p=all#

        Read the whole article…it goes further

        And @ Tough Love….did you miss this part?:

        “Former state Treasurer David Rousseau, who implemented two pension reform measures under Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine before Christie took office, dismissed Christie’s assertion. “There are no extreme measures,” said Rousseau, now the budget analyst for liberal New Jersey Policy Perspective. “It’s a red herring. There is nothing he can do unilaterally to change pensions for public employees.”

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on March 22, 2014 at 2:24 am

          Well, I to be honest, I also would be surprised if Gov. Christie has substantive executive authority to change pension provisions (although perhaps more so re heathcare).

          But ….. a state worker (current of former) participating in the same NJ pension plans (and no wanting his OWN reduced) is hardly an objective/unbiased source for what might be do-able.

          Reply

    • Posted by bdinicola on March 26, 2014 at 6:06 pm

      That would be one interpretation – another would be that the right to collect benefits can not be taken away, but the benefits themselves can be modified. These are not mutually exclusive. You can be vested in a 401k plan, but that does not mean the company can not decrease the matching portion or eliminate it altogether. Why does this same logic not apply to pension plan eligibility? Stated another way, today you wake up and the formula is 1% of your last year’s pay for every year of service (just as an example). Tomorrow, the formula is 0.5%.

      You are still “vested” in the plan and eligible to receive the benefits. The benefits, though modified, are still “pension benefits established by law”. Bottom line, the benefits themselves are not static and sacrosanct.

      Moreover, even if this were not the case, the fact remains that the State Constitution can be amended at any time based on the “will of the people”. Since most pst’s leave NJ like everyone else the first chance they get, who will be here to pull the pro-vampire lever when the matter is put up to a public vote to either fund public schools or fund union pensions? Or fund open space or fund public pensions? Or fund transportation upgrades or fund public pensions? Eventually, the matter is going to be put up for a vote and then you will really have trouble sitting down, truthole.

      Reply

  7. Posted by Steve on March 30, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    That slob Christie screws the Police & Fire pension system even further.

    He’s a piece of crap who only about feeding his own habits. He continues to blame those of us who paid into the pension system.

    He and the rest of the scumbags who have been in charge of New Jersey robbed the pension system over and over again and then wonder why there’s no money to pay us. What a bunch of PIGS.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on March 31, 2014 at 1:35 pm

      Well pardon me, but the collusion between YOUR Unions and our self-dealing, vote-selling, contribution-soliciting elected officials have “screwed” and financially “mugged” the Taxpayers for decades.

      Assuming the COLAs get reinstated, Nj’s safety pensions are ROUTINELY 4+ times greater in value at retirement than those of Private Sector taxpayers making the SAME pay, retiring at the SAME age, and with the SAME years of service. … and all while you make far greater in “cash pay” alone than justifiable by any reasonably metrics.

      And yes, you have paid into the pension system …. and ALL of your contributions (Including investment income thereon) is rarely sufficient to buy more than 10-20% of that extraordinarily generous pension.

      If you’re looking pension pigs, look in the mirror.
      ————————————

      And taxpayers have their sights on eliminating those extraordinary retiree healthcare promises you get … all funded by THEM …. while THEY get nothing pre Medicare.age of 65.

      Reply

      • Keeping it simple, kiss our asses.

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on April 1, 2014 at 1:36 am

          Truth hurts ?

          Reply

          • I’ve been collecting my pension for 12 years as so far, so good.
            I paid my dues in more ways than one and had the courage to protect those of you who called the police for everything and anything.
            In my opinion, as much as you dislike police and are jealous of of little shit pensions, you would not last a day without the police to keep law and order.
            With this being said, your comment show your true colors.

          • Posted by Tough Love on April 1, 2014 at 3:04 am

            Steve, Most Taxpayers (hopefully) understand that the pension crisis in NJ (and that’s what it is, as you will see develop over the next few years) is not your “fault”. It is PRIMARILY the fault of our elected officials who chose to betray the taxpayers and collude with you Unions to grant these obscene, unnecessary, and grossly unjust (to taxpayers) pensions.

            But YOU (not they) are the financial beneficiaries of these obscene promises, so that where taxpayers must go to right this wrong…via material reduction for CURRENT workers (and retirees if need be).

            For what it’s worth, you’ll likely lose most your healthcare subsidy before they go after your pension …. and already being retired, you may escape the blunt of the cuts sure to come.

            Greed HAS consequences.

  8. Posted by Pat on December 20, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    A few FACTS!
    Only the municipalities that have paid firefighters pay into their pensions.

    Firefighters pay 10% of their salaries to that pension.

    Employee contributions used to be 8.5% until Gov. Christie raised the payment to 10% for pension reform and funding, only to give the extra 1.5% back to the respective Municipalities and not put one dime of the extra $ into the pension.

    The State has stolen Billions from the pension system dating back to the Whitman era with a promise to repay that has never been fulfilled.

    The Police and Fire pension is around 77% funded while some other State pension funds are only around 50% but they lump the “failing pensions’ all to present a ruse to the public.

    Firefighters are not entitled to social security benefits.

    Yea, firefighters are real villians,people need to wake up and get the facts.

    Reply

    • Posted by Finder of Truth on December 20, 2014 at 10:52 pm

      As a retired Police Officer, I do NOT get Social Security. Yet, Gov. Christie decided to screw the Police and Fire over by not only failing to pay the states share into the Pension System, he stopped our COLA (Coast of Living), which is what us retired folks depend on. Does he give a dam? NO . He also didn’t forget to take and invest
      $300 Million of our pension money into a failing Revel Casino a couple of years ago, loosing every dime of it. He should have invested his personal funds, not the funds of the retired Police and Fire Fighter.
      The COLA is actually a part of our contracts and what the governor has done is not legal.

      Why are people standing up for criminals, yet the Police and Fire Fighters don’t stand up to this bully Chris Christie ? Humm

      Reply

  9. […] Can governor christie save your pension? | burypensions blog Description: You are right the fees the brokers charge are crazy! i am glad i retired and rolled my 457 to vanguard. i wish state could do the same with our pension!. Post Title : Can governor christie save your pension? | burypensions blog Source : burypensions.wordpress.com Read More : Can governor christie save your pension? | burypensions blog […]

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