How “Sacred” Is Christie’s Trust?

When running for election to be governor of New Jersey the story was:

“The claim that any harm would come to your pension when I’m elected Governor is absolutely untrue. It is a 100% lie,” Chris Christie wrote to New Jersey law enforcement officers during his campaign against Jon Corzine. The 2009 letter, and a near-carbon copy sent to firefighters, has resurfaced amid Christie’s bid to overhaul public servants’ pension system.

chris

Gov. Christie

“Nothing will change for the pensions of current officers, future officers or retirees in a Christie Administration,” says the “Open Letter to Members of Our Law Enforcement Community,” simply signed “Chris.”

“I have repeated time and time again that the pension agreement we made with our member our law enforcement community must be respected,” the 2009 letter adds. “It is a sacred trust.”

Christie sent a similar “sacred trust” letter to firefighters through the state, adding: “The notion that I would eliminate, change, or alter your pension is not only a lie, but cannot be further from the truth.

“No one will stand up for you more than I will.”

“Do not believe the lies that have been spread about my proposals,” Christie told both groups. “Your pension will be protected when I am elected Governor.”

True enough there was no mention of cost-of-living-adjustments as a protected benefit and these days Christie is making those promises exclusively to retirees:


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Yet the plan is all about pain:
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So what then would that retiree to whom Christie promised: “no one is talking about taking your pension away from you” have to criticize about Christie Pension Reform Plan II when it appears?

32 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Tough Love on July 24, 2014 at 8:48 am

    Did you note his statement to the man ALREADY retired, where he said that the only risk to his pension is the bankruptcy of the system ?

    Since States, unlike Cities, can;t formally file for bankruptcy, it’s not sure what he meant by that, but Plan assets (other than those from current actives) hitting zero seems to fit that meaning. And with exactly THAT projected to happen in less than 5 years, it seems like he was being honest, making no real “promises” at all.

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on July 24, 2014 at 9:22 am

      After I picked myself up from the floor I find I agree with you that States cannot go bankrupt.

      I believe that the Appellate court ruling on the Cola will be far reaching if Christie tries to cut pensions.

      If the State willfully permits the fund assets to go to zero by not contributing or putting in a token amount the courts will force the State and Locals( whose plans have no chance of reaching zero unless they are manipulated to do so) to pay the benefits to anyone who retired after 1997.

      Anyway I see a wave of retirements coming soon.

      Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on July 24, 2014 at 9:29 am

        The fist (likely very major) cuts will likely be to retiree healthcare subsidies.

        Reply

      • Posted by bpaterson on July 24, 2014 at 1:01 pm

        anon- (why were you on the floor) anyway, you do bring up a valid legal point in your 3rd paragraph. Whatever failure will result in the program, it could be brought up that starting right now (or even 3 years aga), the NJ govt had become now fully aware of the direction the program is going in and had been acting derelict in any disposition of how they should handle the program.

        If a town is made aware in writing that a sidewalk is upheaved or a tree branch needs to be cut back, and that town does nothing, and you rip over the sidewalk or the branch falls on someone, that town is now fully liable for its inaction and the results of its inaction.

        We are looking at something similar. There was a plan to handle the pension liability and now there isn’t. The future failure if it happens can now be proven as the states liability.

        The only questions are, if the program fails who is responsible for any financial impacts; and who would be accountable for the legal failure of action.

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on July 24, 2014 at 1:21 pm

          I believe your analysis is faulty. Not everything HAS a “solution” that is reasonable, and if the “solution” to our pension shortfalls MUST mean all pension & benefit promises get paid in full and on time, THAT is likely a good example because raising taxes sufficiently to do so would not only be punitive to many (of MUCH lesser means than the Public Sector workers) but likely backfire via a flight of the wealthy.

          Reply

      • ‘…courts will force….’? Just how many tanks/drones does any court have? Law has no teeth, or pensions would have been funded as due, per NJ balanced budget requirement.

        Perhaps our Governor now has a new religion that understands eighth grade arithmetic fully?

        Anyway, the missed pension payments were the responsibility of the people running things then, not now. Services rendered to NJ then are not to be paid by ‘now’ citizens. Public workers then knew (or should have) pensions not funded became only empty promises. Yet, most kept their secure employment.

        Good luck digging many of the recipients of those services up. A small, but sincere step, would be to drop all abusing the system with longevity and high pay not in spirit of original draft.

        Reply

        • Posted by truthnolie on July 24, 2014 at 2:14 pm

          “‘…courts will force….’? Just how many tanks/drones does any court have?”

          You’re an idiot….gee, how is welfare, unemployment/disability tax, etc.”forced” to be paid???

          By mandating it is deducted from paychecks….what?…you think everyone just voluntarily kicks in the money as they want?

          Reply

          • Exactly (you are no less an idiot). But, votes counted more than higher taxes, and court did not order deductions from pay to balance budget because they were numb and powerless, plus liked great promises themselves.

    • Posted by Anonymous on July 24, 2014 at 10:05 am

      He is a liar and you are a top notch fool

      Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on July 24, 2014 at 10:13 am

      TL is a twisted self serving liar who could possible have been cut from the same slimey mold as Christie. She spews nothing but venom and lies and she does so with a lack of conscience that would make the devil proud. She does nothing of consequence besides pay taxes on the abundant amount booze she buys. She will now call me one of the best brightest and greediest in the nation. These are actually all things she aspires towards.

      Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on July 24, 2014 at 11:09 am

        Please show your comments to your boss, your associates, and your extended family …. I’m certain they will be impressed.

        Reply

        • Posted by bpaterson on July 24, 2014 at 1:39 pm

          sadly, over the last 15 years it is coming to light that the political system in place by the gov and legislature created this unsustainable program. The politicians most assuredly knew that, as they ignored the funding of it time and again, right up to CCs tenure and continued it anyway. Did they discuss at all or ignore where they thought they would get the money in the future, not only the principal but the interest and the cola obligations. At least we saw one example with Whitman in the late 90’s, where she took the florio contrived formula on pension “overfunding”, gave some to the taxpayers in rebates and dumped the rest into the stock market for hopefully capital gains to cover the “thievery” starting in repayment in 2009 with the POBs. Of course the investment was done right near the stock market top. That answers her tenure’s idiocy. But what about the 10 years since of mcgreevey and Corzine. Corzine recognized the gorilla that was entering the room and wanted to sell the road authorities, simple, but a citizenry uproar ensued, showing public assets are not to be used for that, although it wasn’t legally tested. But Corzine then continued the underfunding. In the Star ledger years ago, in the byrne v kean column both of the ex-govs referred to the public assets and “investments” which one wonders if these “investments” can be cashed in sometime in the future. That’s what investments are, right?

          CC was the first elected official that actually made the public fully aware of the possible unsustainability of the program, with that early on example of some fireman an his $3 mill worth of pension. He has since been vilified by the public sector. Unsure if it was more for making the problem high profile in the residents eyes, or for getting only tepid tweaks to the program from the (opposition” legislature and claiming it is solved but still saying it wasn’t. CC brought up the fact that the obligation just cant be fulfilled. So taxing the rich is suddenly the answer du jour.

          It appears that everyone is on the same page–that its the politicians who are at fault. Its just each side now has the claim that: 1) the public sector still says it was all contractual so its owed them not caring how it came about and who pays for it. and 2) the other side, the public residents are caring about how it came about and saying they aren’t at fault for any obligations. (that’s toughlove’s stance in a nutshell)

          JB1’s blog is certainly enlightening as to the creation of this problem and the wending of it thru the courts, govt and third parties. The responses to each and any of his posts are exactly the same no matter what topic is broached. it goes to #1 and #2 of the paragraph right above this one.

          And the train still heads toward the cliff unabated since our govt, as CC pointed out during budget vote time, has no real answer and remains frozen as to which interests, special or constituents need to be assuaged.

          Reply

          • Posted by Tough Love on July 24, 2014 at 2:03 pm

            Like you said …. that about sums it up in a nutshell (although my more detailed comments DO support my position that the promised pensions & benefits ARE grossly excessive by any reasonable metric).

            I guess time will tell how this shakes out.

          • Good sense, but not practical as to just who comes up with money for past services?

  2. Posted by Anonymous on July 24, 2014 at 10:21 am

    I would think that any changes to the pension system will have to go through legislature. Good luck with that “Chris”

    Reply

  3. As an aside: This monumental issue of our time is noteworthy for those that only fund a 401(k) retirement-investment account. WHILE WORKING NEVER, NEVER EVER BORROW FROM YOUR ACCOUNT. Many people do borrow because of its ease and transparency. These future retirees are under the mistaken belief that all is ok provided you pay off the loan. WRONG, WRONG! Example: You have $100,000 in your account and borrow $30,000. You pay it back in four years. During the four years your account balance of $70,000 is hopefully growing for your future retirement—-not $100,000.

    That said, with a little twist here and a little turn there this is how the fifty State governments of our nation have handled OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY via their DB pension system.

    Reply

  4. Posted by Pat on July 24, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    Maybe he will try to divide the opposition into “pension collectors” who will get paid, and “pension earners” who will get much less. That would drive the unions crazy. Maybe i should put in my retirement papers while i have a chance.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on July 24, 2014 at 7:47 pm

      Doesn’t look like that will help you. Christie just said that the pensions of retirees must be reduced. You can find it here:

      http://njtoday.net/2014/07/24/christie-says-new-jersey-cut-pensions-retirees-avoid-bankruptcy/

      Reply

      • Posted by truthnolie on July 24, 2014 at 9:38 pm

        “Christie said…..”

        Hee hee hee……still bowing at the alter of Budda huh?

        Christie also said the pension fund is good for 30 years. Christie also said he would never mess with pensions. Christie also said he did not screw up the fed. educational funding. Christie also said he knew nothing about the bridge closing. Christie also said Sandy aid would be quick and not used for any other purpose (like a tv commercial).

        Still not getting through huh?

        Reply

        • Posted by Tough Love on July 24, 2014 at 11:09 pm

          Given all the things he got WRONG, he must have also said that your were a smart, productive guy. ….. one with real intellectual abilities.

          Reply

          • Posted by truthnolie on July 24, 2014 at 11:22 pm

            Typical vapid, nonsensical reply when you are challenged, know you are beat and can’t come up with a valid response…..hey…..you must write for Christie!!!

            Riddle me this all-unknowing one….courts have already turned back the Cola issue as a reduction of a benefit attached….so now they will say cutting a PENSION someone is already getting is not a benefit that has attached?????

            Here’s a simpler question that is more in line with your limited thinking ability….How do you keep a moron in suspense????……

            (To all other posters…..Shhhh!….that should keep her busy for hours!)

          • Posted by Tough Love on July 24, 2014 at 11:51 pm

            truthnolie,

            I know you’re not a deep thinker, but try to concentrate for a brief moment ….

            It’s a MATH problem, and math ALWAYS trumps politics.

          • Posted by Anonymous on July 25, 2014 at 2:06 am

            Truthnolie

            ROFLMAO!!!! – That was great – you win the internet

            Thanks and I look forward to you slaying the idiots like TL who post here.

            Oh and though I hate to reply to that idiot TL, Truthnolie actually does seem to have intellectual abilities and his posts do reflect that. Something that can’t be said for your’s.

        • Posted by Tough Love on July 25, 2014 at 10:57 am

          truthnolie, Thought you might like this. I just posted this comment to an article (http://wpri.com/2014/07/23/providence-pension-lawsuit-looming-trial-this-fall/) describing how 65 retirees in Providence RI are suing to overturn a law that suspended/ended their 3%, 5%, and even 5% COLAs. My comment equally applies to NJ’s situation.
          ————————————————————————————

          Absent from the discussion are 2 VERY important facts:

          (1) The whole issue is to maintain a pension benefit (COLAs) that Private Sector Pension Plans virtually never include. Why are “Public Selector workers “special” and deserving of a better deal than the PRIVATE Sector Taxpayers that they want to pay their way ?

          (2) The COLAs are a very small part of the larger problem, that being that PUBLIC Sector compensation is FAR higher than that of their Private Sector counterparts ….. not primarily in “cash pay”, but in pension and benefit “promises” that ROUTINELY have a value at retirement 3x-4X greater than their Private Sector counterparts. And we all know WHY. It’s because our elected officials who grant these grossly excessive pensions & benefits are bought-off with Public Sector Union campaign contributions and election support.

          Dear Taxpayers …. there is ZERO, yes ZERO justification for YOU to fund that share of such pensons & benefits that resulted from that collusion, and the best estimate of what those pensions & benefits would have been in the ABSENCE of that collusion is what comparable PRIVATE Sector workers typically get towards THEIR retirement from their employers …. 3-5% of pay as an annual employer “match” into a 401K Plan and (if they’re lucky), perhaps an annual $300-$500 contribution into a Retiree Health Savings Account (HSA). You should REFUSE to fund anything further than that.

          Reply

          • Posted by truthnolie on July 25, 2014 at 12:08 pm

            COLA’S??!!

            You already know that the NJ Court decided employees have a right to COLA so why are you bringing that up now? It’s not even what was being commented about above – the issue was Christie saying that retiree PENSIONS (not just Colas…again, which he has already pretty much lost the fight) will have to be reduced

            Why are you even posting this…..is it to cloud the issue since you realize you have no argument pushing Christie’s agenda?

            If Gov. Lard Ass thinks he can ever get away with cutting pensions for those already receiving or who are vested he’s dumber than any politician who has ever lived (although I’m very sure he knows this and is just playing to the crowd trying to placate them and cover up his other problems).

            He can probably propose changes for those not yet vested and new hires but, as seen with the court decision about Cola benefit, once the “right has attached” it is not able to be revoked by the state.

          • Posted by Tough Love on July 25, 2014 at 1:36 pm

            Quoting truthnolie …”COLA’S??!! You already know that the NJ Court decided employees have a right to COLA so why are you bringing that up now?”

            So the JUDGES …. who hope to get THEIR OWN COLAs reinstated …. voted to reinstate them. Gee, surprise surprise. You don’t see a conflict of interest here ?

            No, the Judges, just like all other PUBLIC Sector workers are not “special” and deserving of a better deal than the Private Sector Taxpayers called upon to pay for 80-90% of THEIR pensions.

            PRIVATE Sector Plans almost NEVER include COLAs.
            —————————————————————–

            No argument pushing Christie’s “agenda” ?

            What “agenda”? How about to FINALLY (and VERY materially) reduce these grossly excessive, unnecessary, and unjust (to Taxpayers) Public Sector Pensions & Benefits ? That’s not an “agenda”, it’s a necessity for NJ’s survival.

            You still don’t understand that it’s 99% a MATH problem. You’re dumber than a rock.

          • Posted by truthnolie on July 25, 2014 at 2:44 pm

            Hmmm…not once in my previous reply did I cast a insult against you…..so who is the one who is the non-intellectual and resorts to name calling when they meet an argument??

            You must be one of the private sector’s best and brightest (although if that were true one would think you’d be hard at work at an assigned task rather then most of your time posting and rehashing the same old stuff.

            And yeah so?….It’s a math problem…..your solution (believe me we’ve heard it enough) is 100% wrong in my opinion….my math solution would be tax increases (millionaires, gas and otherwise), multiple cuts which I’ve posted elsewhere here, shared services, privatizing state functions, etc, etc.

            By the way…I’m sure you’ll grasp at a way to spin a negative on this but latest news:

            “New Jersey’s pension fund value has grown to $80 billion, and its investments are earning double what managers expected.”

            And even more importantly (and what I’ve been saying all along):

            “The impressive returns, however, highlight an argument from unions that New Jersey may have missed out on even bigger gains in recent years because state contributions into the pension fund have been reduced or cut altogether, including the payment Governor Christie slashed at the end of June.

            “http://www.northjersey.com/news/n-j-pension-fund-showing-impressive-returns-1.1056029

  5. Posted by Javagold on July 25, 2014 at 12:43 am

    1. Take away healthcare

    2. Tax the pensions up as high as 100%

    3. Pay the parasites on devalued, inflated and worthless fiat currency paper.

    Many ways to skin these hogs.

    Reply

    • Posted by skip3house on July 26, 2014 at 12:15 pm

      Truthnolie – Aren’t there doubts about the value of the ‘risky’ investments? Are they traded? Seems I read the managers are just estimating the value, and show no real sales?
      Wish we had the late SL reporter, Dunstan McNichol.

      Reply

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