Breaking News: Christie Sued Today

If you believe a journalist that Christie once called a hack then the trustee board of the Public Employee Retirement system that voted 6-0 back in June to file suit against Christie and New Jersey over the governor’s plans to skip a $900 million pension payment to balance that year’s budget is doing so right now.

From David Sirota’s story this morning:

The trustees of the boards overseeing New Jersey’s $80 billion public employee retirement system will file a lawsuit Wednesday morning against Gov. Chris Christie for his decision to not make legally required annual pension contributions, International Business Times has learned. If successful, the lawsuit could compel Christie to reverse his recent cuts to the state’s required $2.25 billion payment.

“It’s one thing to say there is a fiscal emergency, but it is another thing to veto a solid funding stream because you don’t like what that funding stream is,” New Jersey pension trustee Tom Bruno told IBTimes. “There is no fiscal emergency when you yourself are vetoing the funding. He is creating the crisis through his own actions.”

Bruno told IBTimes that, as fiduciaries of the pension system, trustees have a legal responsibility “to protect the fund and collect the monies due to the fund, whether that money is due from members that have gotten benefits and weren’t supposed to, or from the governor of the state who is refusing to make legally required contributions. The workers have not refused to make their payments – the governor has.”

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23 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Tough Love on December 10, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Quoting …. “The workers have not refused to make their payments – the governor has.”

    Well, if the worker’s “share” wasn’t less than 1/5 of the true total Plan Costs, this might be a valid point.

    To fully fund NJ Plans (because they are so extraordinarily generous compared to the retirement packages offered Private Sector workers by their employers) the State & Localities (meaning the TAXPAYERS) need to contribute 25%-40% of pay annually.

    Why should we (the Taxpayers) do so when WE typically get from our Private Sector employers no more than 3%-4% of pay into a 401K plan and out employer’s 6.2% of pay contribution into Social Security on our behalf … totaling to roughly 10% of pay ?

    Let the Plans fail, and cut the promised pensions to as level NO GREATER THAN what Private Sector workers TYPICALLY get.

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on December 10, 2014 at 1:58 pm

      let Christie pay only 1/5 of the true total plan assets he hasnt even come close to that. TL come on, you are too funny!

      Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on December 10, 2014 at 2:09 pm

        I’m sure he would agree that that if the Unjust, Unnecessary, and Unsustainable OTHER 4/5-th is erased …. meaning that your pensions will be cut accordingly.

        Are you game ?

        Reply

        • Posted by Anonymous on December 10, 2014 at 5:49 pm

          Get your own blog TL, knowledge and truth that doesn’t lead to solutions is useless. CC is going down,by the way Will your pension be cut based on new legislation?

          Reply

        • Posted by Anonymous on December 10, 2014 at 7:49 pm

          Come on TL be real. where on earth is Christie going to get 1/5 of the total plan assets from?

          Reply

          • Posted by Tough Love on December 10, 2014 at 8:38 pm

            Over time, paying 1/5 is possible and a heck of a lot closer to just & fair than is 100%.

    • Posted by Anonymous on December 10, 2014 at 11:08 pm

      You should have thought about that 45 years ago like I did.

      Reply

  2. Posted by hondo on December 10, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    I don’t see that making the $2.25 Billion payment is enough base on the 300 Billion real liabilities that John stated. I agree with TL its doom to fail but, no one knows when exactly.

    Reply

  3. Posted by dentss dunnigan on December 10, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    So sue me …..has one check not gone out ,has the state ever missed sending out any checks ? …….it’s all meaningless until the checks stop

    Reply

  4. Posted by Javagold on December 10, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    Tick Tock , Public Takers, Tick Tock. …… Oh and pass the popcorn, it’s going to be an Epic collapse.

    Reply

  5. Posted by Anonymous on December 10, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    Hey Tick Tock—- YOUR’RE A MORON

    Reply

  6. Posted by hondo on December 10, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Detroit thought the same thing until the pension was reduced. Who’s to say it can’t happen in NJ? Something is going to change and it might be a cut in our monthly check to pay health benefits like TL & John had mentioned. So we better start saving our money before it runs out!

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on December 10, 2014 at 8:17 pm

      NJ’s pensions will be “reduced” by a GREAT deal more than those in Detroit. The Detroit pensioners benefited enormously from a combined effort to protect the Detroit Institute of Arts valuable collection from sale to satisfy bankruptcy claims.

      Reply

  7. Posted by Tough Love for Tough Love on December 10, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    I get a bit tirted reading the same diatribe from the same folks on this site. By the way John, your ‘fair’ coverage of the issues failed to pick up the excellent NJ Spotlight article on the health benefits issue. The rest of this comment goes out to all the haters out there. Haters in the sense of those who hate contracts. That’s coming from your friend endly neighborhood private employee who happens to love the republic. Here is some tough love for tough love. First, let nj break its contract with the unions, as long as you are okay with the fed gov confiscating your social security benefit stream in the future or taking 1/3 to 1/2. of your 401k/403b/IRA, SEP, whatever… For if the promises made to the unions are bankrupt so are the government promises to you. And while your at it, if your self employed, how bout we fix that there ole tax code to insure you lose your deductions and start paying your fair share. And the unions don’t get out of this scot free. Can’t see a way where they don’t pay more for healthcare. State constitution covers an amount for. Pension (none specific until the recent contractual obligation,) but nothing constitutional about healthcare…though coverage was contractaully included (but at what %). Having a statewide Union negotiate at a local level yields negotiations that really aren’t fair. Let’s go to regionally negotiated contracts for fire, police, and education. There isn’t a friendly way out of this. Everyone is going to have to pay, a dedicated tax to the pension, reduced benefits to a degree. Anyone wanting to beggar thy neighbor, better get himself in line right behind them. This game isn’t about us or them. We all wish we had a safe job today, that’s the jealousy. That’s the part of the envy of it all. As is the fact that the funds are significantly underfunded. Let’s agree to work at this together. I challenge the first person on this jaded blog who really wants to burn It all down to step up and be the first to get inside. Let’s talk about what is really important, the obligation of a contract.

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on December 10, 2014 at 10:02 pm

      Why negotiate now? In a few years The plan assets will be depleted and the full force of all payments will affect the budget of NJ taxpayers.

      5 to 10 more years of 3 percent compounded tax increases will push the remaining productive citizens out of the state. Then public unions can ally with the workin class brothers to tax the remaining 1 per centers.

      Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on December 10, 2014 at 10:58 pm

      Ripe for reply … where do I begin?

      (1) Quoting…”Haters” out there? Why. because we strongly reject your insatiable greed and disdain for the Taxpayers? Some pension reformers like to call pension reform obstructions (most being Public Sector workers or retirees) “Takers”. Personally, I believe the word “moochers” fits much better.

      (2) Breaking your “contract”? Do you mean the “contract” that was “negotiated with NOBODY at that negotiating table truly looking out for TAXPAYER interests? What negotiator (truly looking out for TAXPAYER interests) would grant pensions that ROUTINELY have a value at retirement 3 to 4 times greater than those granted Private Sector workers when retiring at the SAME age, with the SAME pay, and the SAME years of service (and 80-90% paid-for by not YOU, but by the Taxpayers)?

      (3) Taxpayers not paying their “fair share”? Not sure if it applies to NJ, but how come only PUBLIC Sector pensions are excluded from State Income Taxes (in some States)? Oh, and isn’t NJ already the 1-st or 2-nd the highest-taxed State in America? And you guys (Public Sector workers) REALLY like to throw those words (we pay our “fair share”) around when it comes to pensions. Interestingly, you rarely state exactly what your “fair share” is? Perhaps because your don’t really want to advertise that of the total cost to fully fund your grossly excessive pensions over your working career (using APPROPRIATE assumption & methods, not the phony accounting that NJ now uses), “your share” (INCLUDING all the investment earning on your own contributions) RARELY accumulates to a sum at retirement sufficient to buy more than 10-20% of that VERY VERY generousness pension. The beleaguered Taxpayers are responsible for the 80-90% balance. P.S. they don’t intend to pay up.

      (4) Quoting …”Can’t see a way where they don’t pay more for healthcare.”
      I’m assuming you are referring to your retiree healthcare promises, to which all I can say is …. “you poor boy”. How would you like to trade with the TYPICAL Private Sector worker whose employer-provided retiree healthcare benefits are rarely more than $300-$500 annually into a retiree HSA (which amounts to about 1/2% to 3/4% of pay for most workers). Did you know that a recent study estimated the cost of retiree healthcare benefits such as YOURS to cost a level annual 12% of pay?

      (5) Quoting …. “Having a statewide Union negotiate at a local level yields negotiations that really aren’t fair. Let’s go to regionally negotiated contracts for fire, police, and education. ” Fair to whom … to you … to the Taxpayers? No, how about no Public Sector Unions at all, or at least no “bargaining” for compensation. Your insatiable greed has made this all the more important. FDR had great insight and was correct when he said ….

      “All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service,” he wrote. “It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations,”

      (6) Quoting …”There isn’t a friendly way out of this. Everyone is going to have to pay…”
      Well, taking Mr. Bury’s unbiased estimate of $300 Billion owed just for PAST service pension and benefit accruals, how about you (Active and Retired NJ Public Sector workers) suggest PAST Service pension & benefit givebacks with a legitimate value of no less than HALF that amount, $150 Billion. Perhaps THEN, the Taxpayers will agree to come up with the other $150 Billion. And of course we will need to cut FUTURE service pension & benefit accruals similarly so as to not start re-building a new deficit. You on Board ?

      (7) And your ending sentence …”Let’s talk about what is really important, the obligation of a contract.” Sorry, but a contract that binds a 3-rd party (the Taxpayers) as the payer, when at the same time NOT giving that party fair representation (and often in such “negotiations”, outright betraying their best interests) should not (and will not) be honored.

      Reply

  8. Posted by Javagold on December 10, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    Tough love for tough love. Oh that’s also coming for sure. MYRA ring any bells ??? How about bail ins ??

    The public takers just think their lazy corrupt entitled asses should not be included in coming tsunami. That’s why I despise them so.

    Reply

  9. Posted by Tough Love for Tough Love on December 10, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    Tough Love,
    Interesting reply. I am not sure if you read my last blog that closely. Certainly possible, through a filtered lens. Am a private employee. Glad to see that you are volunteering to be first inside. If you are okay with the abrogating of contracts, sure you don’t mind if your county ‘accepts’ your home regardless of whether you own. Private property doesn’t matter, remember? How about your car? Rand takes the concept of individualism and distorts it until nobody needs anyone. Unfortunately, we all need someone, that’s part of the social contract…oops there is that word again. You can scream at the wind all you want. The debt is. Hey, don’t feel like paying…fine, but the same applies to everything you own, your assets, your property…a world without contracts is a slippery slope. Sorry that my words upset. Don’t want to live in jersey, fine. The lack of contracts will catch up with you soon enough. Of course it would be nice to try and talk civilly, acknowledging the problem and the debts. Discuss a solution which includes mutual sacrifice. You could always leave the U.S. too. Though Through all my travels, despite her shortcomings there in no place like home (US). Want to leave still? Would prefer you stay as the melting pot benefits all, though if you leave fate will catch up with you soon enough.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on December 11, 2014 at 12:11 am

      Your reply suggests you missed my whole point about Public Sector compensation contracts. I was stating that contracts negotiated in collusion, binding a betrayed 3-rd party (the Taxpayers) to pay, should be unenforceable.

      Read my earlier comment again … it was there, multiple times. And please, tell me exactly what I stated above that is not accurate.
      ———————————-
      You say that you are a Private Sector employee. Perhaps you are a lawyer with a deep interest in Contract law. Or, perhaps you “were” or an family member “is” or “was” a Public Sector worker, now getting or expecting to get a Public Sector pension in the future ….. and not wanting it reduced.
      ——————————
      Quoting … “Discuss a solution which includes mutual sacrifice.”

      I did in my above comment …. $150 Billion each.

      Reply

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