Expect No Leadership on NJ Pension Issue

In anticipation of a state of the State address today the talk is of a presidential campaign as issues of relevance become props to manipulate instead of problems to be solved:

David Redlawsk, director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University, noted that Christie’s approval rating on jobs and the economy (35 percent) and taxes (31 percent) is consistently low. Overall, Redlawsk said that Christie had dipped into net-negative approval ratings for the first time among New Jerseyans in back-to-back polls last October and December.

Political observers expect the governor to make little progress on thorny issues in Trenton this year. Legislative Democrats are pushing to solve the transportation funding crunch issue with a gas tax, but adopting such a measure would make Christie’s path to the presidential nomination of an anti-tax Republican Party all but impossible.

Meanwhile, trust is already frayed from the last pension deal that Democrats say Christie abandoned. Christie is expected to announce another pension push on Tuesday but Democrats are not signaling a willingness to trim benefits further.

“His signature victory, pension reform, has turned out, in the moment, into nothing,” Redlawsk said.

The sad part is that wherever Christie decides to take us in his speech a media fed on rehashing press releases and public pronouncements will blithely follow.  This is what I expect to hear today at 2…..

  1. Bail reform worked*

That’s it.  Everything else will be speechifying exercises in flag raising to elicit mindless positive reactions.  On pensions there will be a few talking points that may be hit…

  • we  need to work together
  • it’s a national issue
  • reforms need time

…but nothing will be spotlighted, nothing will be recommended, and under Christie’s leadership, nothing will be done.




* And it’s not as if bail reform worked.  It’s only that so few people are impacted that success can be claimed without much push-back.

8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Tough Love on January 13, 2015 at 11:09 am


    Re NJ’s pension problem, if not Gov. Christie, under who’s leadership “will” something (truly effective) be done …….. and how …… as all effective solutions include GREAT financial pain for the Taxpayer, the Workers/Retirees, or both. Care to surmise what from that solution might take?


  2. Posted by Anonymous on January 13, 2015 at 11:17 am

    TL will undoubtedly vote for Chris Christie for president if he gains the nomination, despite the fact that he failed to reform pensions in NJ, mainly because of his outright lies and no real desire to reform. Christie is elected president will send the country into ruins before even NJ fails. Ironic, isnt it? TL fails to see the bigger picture. Federal government is in dire straits, Obamacare adding even more burden to the deficit with no ability to pay. When Christie sits on the side of the bus that is hanging over the cliff, the bus will fall into the ravine.


    • Posted by Tough Love on January 13, 2015 at 11:31 am

      The ONLY “reform” you (as one riding this pension gravy train) want to see, is higher taxes, not pension/benefit reductions which are FAR more justifiable and appropriate.

      Stop worrying about what I think, grow a brain, and perhaps suggest something useful, OTHER THAN tax increases.
      No matter how many times the truth is twisted or “spun”, Gov. Christie INHERITED this problem, and it’s NJ’s Union-Owned Democratic Legislature that refuses to do anything that might upset their Union benefactors.


  3. Posted by RealRep on January 13, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    The punt is away!


  4. Posted by Tough Love on January 13, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    Quoting from his State of the State speech …..

    “We need to have an effort that includes everyone responsible for property taxes – the Senate, the Assembly, our Administration and local government to provide local government with the authority to run their governments like a business: consolidate, share services, cut duplication and ultimately actually reduce property taxes.”

    “Run their governments like a business” … I like that idea.

    What percentage of successful businesses today provide Traditional-style Defined Benefit pensions …. (noting that even the VERY few that still credit current service in such Plans are rarely more than HALF as generous as formulas and provisions TYPICAL of Public Sector DB plans granted to almost ALL Public Sector workers).

    It’s no wonder our property taxes are so high.


    • Posted by Tough Love on January 13, 2015 at 5:23 pm

      And who but PUBLIC Sector workers get ANY (yes ANY) employer-sponsored retiree healthcare benefits today ?

      Remember that saying ..”Hey Buddy, got a DIME?

      Make that …”Hey Buddy, got a spare $250K-$500K so I can get retiree healthcare too”


  5. Posted by Let's be honest on January 15, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Run like a business? Enron. Citibank. too big to fail, General Motors recalls, ship jobs off shore, lobby DC for tax loopholes, etc. The private sector track record is no less scandalous than that of the public sector


    • Posted by Tough Love on January 15, 2015 at 1:15 pm

      Do 2 wrongs make a right ?

      Does “scandalous” behavior in some big companies justify the Financial “mugging” of taxpayers EVERYWHERE by grossly excessive, unnecessary, unjust, unfair, and unaffordable PUBLIC Sector pensions & benefit promises EVERYWHERE ?


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