Who’s Double-Crossing Whom Here?

So the democrat narrative is becoming clear. Despite the Dems having control of the legislature for decades and having sporadic control of the Governor’s seat it’s not their fault that the pension system went unfunded and it’s certainly not their fault the system has gone beyond the point of saving. No, no, no, the fault is Christie and only Christie.

I think Christie is a massive SOB but if the NJ Dems are looking for who is at fault for the pension systems unavoidable collapse the best place to start is with a mirror.

Posted by Hoboken_Guy on July 10, 2014 at 12:28 am

A perfect illustration of this mindset appeared today as Sen. Linda R. Greenstein (D) representing the 14th Legislative District and serving on the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee had an opinion piece in the Trenton Times where she trotted out every sanctimonious piece of blather in the democratic playbook on the pension issue:

It wasn’t all that long ago that we could find Gov. Christie on one of his many political trips around the country boasting of the bipartisan plan he forged with the Legislature to save the state’s pension system from ruin.

That plan included ramping up not only the state’s contributions, which have lagged badly over the past couple of decades, but also significantly increased the paycheck deductions taken from the workers who contribute to it.

Paycheck deductions were not significantly increased (accounting for maybe $300 million more annually to the plans) and the very idea of having ’employee’ contributions is a gimmick.  Every dollar to pay for pensions emanates from taxpayers with some filtered through salaries that serve only to increase government (both federal and state) revenue as those contributions become subject to income taxation.

 The governor has gone from touting the pension changes made three years ago as “a model for the nation” to refusing to share in the burden by withholding $900 million in payments appropriated by the Legislature and due in the fiscal year that just ended June 30.  His budget is doing worse still in the new fiscal year that began July 1. With his line item veto, the governor eliminated $1.6 billion in pension contributions offered by the Democratic majority that gave him a chance to stand by his promise. Instead, the governor will pay only $681 million toward the $2.25 billion pension contribution that is required under the 2011 law.

Strictly speaking if we consider the 2011 reforms as a bargain then the overturning of the COLA elimination included in that ‘deal’ could be considered as the public employees also “refusing to share in the burden”.

It seems when the going gets tough, the governor gets going — the other way. In contrast, before the governor’s line item vetoes, the Democratic proposal kept our promise to stand with the men and women who teach our children, protect our homes and families and provide the many public services that daily uphold our quality of life.

No it didn’t.  If you wanted to keep some promise to secure those pensions your budget would have added $10 billion to the contribution.  Instead it was Democratic legislatures that came up with these silly 1/5th; 1/7th phase-ins of the ARC that get abandoned when they hit 3.  That a total necessary contribution of $15 billion from all sources winds up being $4 billion under Christie while you would have it be $5 billion does not give you much reason for endzone celebrations.

Led by Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Budget and Appropriations Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo, we crafted an alternative to Gov. Christie’s proposed $34.4 billion FY2015 budget. Instead of foisting the burden on the public workers who have already sacrificed, only to be double-crossed by the governor’s budgeting, we instead asked that the wealthiest among us – those with earnings of more than $1 million annually – pay a little more for three years to help right the ship of state. We also proposed a one-year surcharge on the corporate business tax that amounts to about 1.5 percent in real dollars and the temporary suspension of another business grant program.

And in the two days you people took to come up with these proposals was any consideration given to how many of those wealthiest among us would refuse to comply with your request not only for this little extra but all their taxes as they move south?

There were arguments from the other side of the aisle during the recent budget debate that many millionaires in New Jersey have already left our state for tax havens elsewhere, claiming that if we increased taxes on the remaining millionaires, they’d head for the exits, too.  But the nonpartisan research arm for the Legislature, the Office of Legislative Services, has found just the opposite is true. OLS reports that between 2003 and 2011 — a period of time during which the tax rate on millionaires was increased not once but twice — the number of millionaire tax filers in New Jersey increased a whopping 67 percent, from approximately 8,800 to 14,700.

Is this the same OLS that makes all revenue estimates?

None of us wants to see tax increases, but to bury our heads in the sand and try to wish away our obligations results not only in broken promises, but also in undue hardship for our public workers and pensioners. Ignoring our obligations has also resulted in a steady stream of credit downgrades, a total of six times under Gov. Christie’s watch so far. As I stated on the floor of the Senate during the recent budget debate, an alternative is necessary to undo a morally bankrupt approach by this administration, as it turns its back on promises made. The pensions have been earned and paid for by every police officer, firefighter, teacher and countless other civil servants who steadfastly, and in many cases selflessly, deliver for the taxpayer day after day, year after year, decade after decade. The Democratic alternative to the governor’s budget was a responsible and morally sound budget and one where we kept our word to the workers we depend on to protect us from harm, educate our children, improve our roads and bridges and maintain our parks. They’ve kept up their end by never once missing a payment. It’s a shame the governor struck down with his veto pen a responsible alternative that repays what we owe and what we agreed to in good faith.

The pensions have not been paid for – which is why so much is owed ($200 billion now with the COLAs back) and though many public employees do indeed work very hard and earn their pensions a majority of public employees also have blind faith in smarmy politicians like you and thus also earn the pension default that is coming.

14 responses to this post.

  1. “Who’s Double-Crossing Whom Here?”

    The answer is the same everywhere. Generation Greed has double crossed the poorer generations to follow, with the help of the politicians they controlled.

    Didn’t past New Jerseyans want more services and lower taxes (than New York, for example) and reward those who “creatively” made it happen? Now they don’t want to deal with the consequences until they get to Florida or the grave.


  2. Posted by Javagold on July 10, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    How come neither side of THIEFS ever mentions the fat liar taking away the property tax rebates only one month before people were expecting and budgeted. I heard no one say a word !!!


    • Posted by Anonymous on July 10, 2014 at 6:40 pm

      Its called shared sacrifice, just like the COLA… LMAO


    • Posted by Anonymous on July 11, 2014 at 4:58 pm

      And we all voted to increase the sales tax (.5%) to fund the rebates ….Where’s the beef ?


      • Posted by Tough Love on July 11, 2014 at 5:06 pm

        Brilliant,……….. increase a regressive tax (which hits primarily those who can least afford it) to fund a benefits for (much more wealthy) property owners.

        If you want to cut property taxes, cuts what is the SOURCE of high local expenses ….. compensation costs, and primarily the unnecessarily excessive pensions and benefits granted Public Sector workers. Better yet, OUTSOURCE as many as possible.


        • Posted by stan sout on July 14, 2014 at 5:53 pm

          To qualify for a rebate your income must be under 74K ..I hardly think that’s “wealthy” in NJ ….


          • Posted by Tough Love on July 17, 2014 at 9:37 pm

            Good point, but I’ll repeat …. If you want to cut property taxes, cuts what is the SOURCE of high local expenses ….. compensation costs, and primarily the unnecessarily excessive pensions and benefits granted Public Sector workers.

  3. Posted by Eric on July 10, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    I do not understand how Greenstein views those who have been retired, prior to the pension changes, as possibly “reneging” on a deal eliminating cost of living adjustments about which they were never a party. They had been retired. The law afforded them cost of living adjustments at the time of their retirement. John, you are accurate stating or characterizing it as a theft.
    Welcome to the Garden State!


  4. Posted by Pat on July 10, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    I don’t quite buy the idea of the rich fleeing the state and its taxes. If so, why are they not all moving to PA with its 3% flat tax? They would save a fortune! I think the continued decay in services would chase them away faster. Unless they have a helicopter, they would have to deal with the same jammed highways, bridges and tunnels everyone else uses. The rich may afford a lot, but not a private road to manhattan.


    • Posted by Matt on July 11, 2014 at 6:12 am

      I could say the same thing about public workers–they are bankrupting the state and they have to drive over the same crumbling bridges as private workers. If they want to send their kids to NJ City University the tuition is $11K a year–but they won’t mind, since universities have big pension bills, too, BTW the expenses for NJCU are hilarious–tuition is $3800 per semester but then they add another $1600 in various fees–student center fee, student activity fee, tech fee, and general service fee. Watch those fees skyrocket as pensions use up more of the NJ budget.


  5. Posted by bpaterson on July 11, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    what is interesting is that the number of millionaires supposedly increased 70% in 8 years and the taxes on those millionaires were increased twice, yet the state is still in financial dire straits and Nj is considered the state with the highest taxes….and we yet have around $200 billion in govt health, pension underfunding and debt obligations.

    Things dont add up with this state govt system. Could there be something else at work here that really needs to be addressed?


    • Posted by Tough Love on July 11, 2014 at 12:43 pm

      Yes, Grossly Excessive Public Sector pension & benefit “generosity” …. the ROOT CAUSE of our financial problems.


  6. TL lets not forget the corruption, back door deals, nepotism, incompetence, double dippers, pork barrell projects, funds raided and looted, subzidized housing, Medicaid and welfare for ner do wells, way too many public workers doing way too little and not very efficient or productive, there isn’t a revenue problem there is a spending problem…….there is a reason they are not funding the pensions; they know it is a sinking ship but need the public worker/union votes to get re-elected. There is no honor among thieves, the politicians will take theirs and leave the rest to fend for themselves. Just a matter of when………….hopefully, we all will have moved on by then.


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