What’s Up with the New Jersey COLA case

Pension reform laws that included the elimination of cost-of-living-adjustments (COLAs) for current retirees were tossed out by courts in Illinois, Arizona, and Oregon but what is happening with Berg v. Christie in New Jersey?

A not-to-be-named participant in that case speculates:

A petition has been pending for almost a year. It has been marked “held”, whatever that means. I have no information about it other than that. The clerk’s office will provide no further information to me.In the past when I called to inquire, I was given some information; specifically, starting this January a petition was scheduled on specific dates to be conferenced by the Court (a conference is where the 7 justices decide whether to hear the appeal or not – it takes 3 affirmative votes out of 7 to have an appeal heard).  Since then the case has been scheduled for conference on 5 other separate dates. On each date, it was adjourned until another date. When the funding case was scheduled to be heard, no new further dates for conference were set for my case.

My guess is that my petition will not be heard until the funding case is decided. At that time, the contract clause arguments will have been decided and the Court could summarily grant my petition and then remand it to the Appellate Division to decide it in light of the funding case opinion. In addition, they could keep my case and decide both the contract clause and equitable arguments presented in my petition. Either way, I don’t expect an opinion on the COLA issues for some time.
For those looking to check if Berg v. Christie pops up on the New Jersey Supreme Court radar they have a search page.

49 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Anonymous on May 29, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    NJ and corruption perfect together. Could it be that NJ is the most corrupt state in the union? I mean even Illinois settled the case. But think about this TL, do you really thing politicians are going to reduce their own pensions by 50 percent. And pay for their insurance benefits? I know that you dont!!!!

    Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on May 29, 2015 at 2:47 pm

      Eventually (5 years ?) the money won’t be there to pay for these grossly excessive pension and benefits promise …. regardless of how the Courts decide or If/what the Legislature chooses to do (or not do).

      Reply

      • Posted by BH on May 29, 2015 at 4:39 pm

        The money would be there if the state continued to make the ARC to the pension instead of taking decades and calling it a pension holiday. If the state monitored the funds fees to the elitist and if there was more transparency with all corporate subsidies…..the funds would all be adequately funded!!!
        It’s very simple, look at the states that are not in a crisis….. Guess what they alllll have in common????…… Ready for it??!!!
        They make regular payments to their pensions. That’s being responsible.
        Not folding to public opinion for votes and thereby taking the pension money and using it for rebates!!!!!!!!!!!

        Reply

        • Posted by Anonymous on May 30, 2015 at 7:18 pm

          The only think gross and excessive is TL’s ability to spout out fantasy after fantasy. I bet the alcohol fuels her substantially.

          Reply

  2. Posted by Anonymous on May 29, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    That when it will be time to raise taxes especially on millionaires and dont think it wont happen. it is not beyone the politicians, they want their pensions

    Reply

    • Which do they want more; their pensions as is (wishful thinking at its finest), or their jobs (including fiefdoms, perks of power etc.). Attempt to raise taxes enough to even remotely meet the unfunded pensions, COLA’s, retiree medical benefits etc., and they will either be recalled quickly or voted out of office in the next election cycle.

      Reply

      • Posted by BH on May 29, 2015 at 4:32 pm

        Lol!!! Oh ok…right. Because the next “guy” is the one to not be corrupt.
        You people kill me with just how really nearsighted and naive you are. No wonder blimpy boy won a second term. Wow!!!!

        Reply

        • You seem to think that the corrupt state of affairs is ok as long as you get yours.
          Thats a big part of the problem is the corrupt state of affairs and we are all seeing the consequences of power hungry, corrupt, inept and unethical politicians. Im guessing that you voted for these people since they were promising you big pay outs. Does that make you corrupt also?

          Reply

          • Posted by Anonymous on May 31, 2015 at 8:46 am

            And I guess the corporations and all their employees for benefiting from taxpayer funding tax breaks, etc – fair and equal.

      • Posted by Anonymous on May 31, 2015 at 8:54 am

        What you and other like posters on this site are forgetting, COMPROMISE. Not like the posters here but the majority view of reasonable and ratiosle people in NJ and America. That’s what wrong with the GOP, the Tea Party faction is undermining and dividing them. They will never get the majority of the swing votes.

        Reply

        • Actually, the “tea party” is not an organized party dividing anyone. To the extent it’s so called members are of one mind, though, they are certainly not divided as you say. The have, have-not story is older than the bible and nowadays, the publix are the haves….

          Reply

        • Posted by MJ on May 31, 2015 at 3:16 pm

          You didn’t answer my question anonymous … Do you believe that corruption is acceptable among political leaders as long as you receive your “promised” pension?

          Reply

  3. Posted by truthnolie on May 29, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    And as I posted yesterday, although some moron tried to criticize my info from someone “in the know”, it was in a “hold” situation (supposedly while it is decided who/where it will be sent)…..but, unless you’re a totally naive idiot, it is very obvious this is just a stall tactic to push off the inevitable decision favoring future COLA restoration.

    The State/Christie/Courts are playing games trying to forestall the day of reckoning….time for the unions to press the issue.

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on May 29, 2015 at 4:28 pm

      another Chris Christie wannabe complete with name calling and bully tactics. Be honest please, I have known people in the know high up in the state. you would be a fool to believe everything they tell you.

      Reply

    • Posted by BH on May 29, 2015 at 4:41 pm

      Ummmmm…. The unions are pressing the issue. They are in court as we speak over the very thing you are talking about!!! Duh

      Reply

      • Posted by truthnolie on May 29, 2015 at 6:52 pm

        Moron 1(Anonymous):

        “another Chris Christie wannabe complete with name calling and bully tactics. Be honest please, I have known people in the know high up in the state. you would be a fool to believe everything they tell you.”

        Never said it was someone “high up in the state” (go back and try reading at a level higher than 2nd grade) nor did I say it was anyone involved in State or Local govt’s…….I know better to trust ANYTHING they say.

        Also, what I said (that the case was in a “hold” status) was pretty much confirmed by JB who got the same answer if you can read anything above coherently.

        Chris Christie wannabe?….Yeah….you got me pegged…..LOL!

        Moron 2 (BH):

        “Ummmmm…. The unions are pressing the issue. They are in court as we speak over the very thing you are talking about!!! Duh”

        No they’re not actively “in court as we speak”…….court testimony has been over for almost a year now (COLA) and for several weeks with the pension contribution challenge….the cases are in the court’s hands which is an entirely different matter since the court has control as and is sitting on it (the COLA case decided LAST June) and the pension contribution case (which they will have to announce soon since they can’t stall the answer much longer…but would if they could).

        Try to keep up will ya? (Or is your break from the drive thru window not long enough to do research??)

        Reply

  4. Wow! Was this prescient or what? This idea has been floating around for years!

    Posted by chasman on February 21, 2011 at 12:45 am

    I agree with John. The health benefits are not protected as contracts. Frankly, I never understood why both parties don’t just eliminate that benefit and then use any monies (current or future payouts) to increase the solvency of the pension funds. Post-retirement health benefits are clearly exempted from the “non-forfeitable” statute making benefits contractual in nature. Also, that statute no longer applies to any new pension members, whether for pensions or health benefits.

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on May 29, 2015 at 4:22 pm

      Totally agree with you, it’s seems ridiculous to reduce questionable benefits (COLA) being challenged in court when clearly health benefits is not protected. Why waste time and money, just do it?

      Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on May 29, 2015 at 4:30 pm

      State and the insurance company are in bed together, understand now!

      Reply

      • Posted by BH on May 29, 2015 at 4:35 pm

        Bingo!!!!
        You people still really don’t get it do you???
        I’ve said this since my very first post here….. They are allllllllll systematically robbing us.. The middle class…. Blind!!!!! That’s the entire plan!!!! Jeesh

        Reply

    • That issue is why the dems want national healthcare. Puts the federal govt on the hook for what is now a state problem (Medicaid and PW early retiree wise, anyway).

      Reply

  5. Posted by Anonymous on May 29, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    TL and devout followers; individuals presenting a right wing conservative perspective based on half-truths and lies.

    TL continual posts repetitive misinformation citing sources with extreme ideology. Yet sumarial dismisses other posts with conflicting opinions and sources.

    Specifically, purposely misstated the tax status of public pensions in the following post; https://burypensions.wordpress.com/2015/05/22/christie-curses-out-nj-media/#comments When called to task tried to double talk their way out of it. Standard operating procedure for most of their commentary.

    Fair and equal for all is the mantra. Fair enough, but not when I suggest Federal workers and members of our beloved Armed Forces be part of the bigger conversation. The response, they’re different. But why, because they risk their lives like first responders at home. Their DBP are paid with Federal tax dollars as opposed to State or Local. Everyone knew the job risks when they accepted employment. But they also knew what their salary, pension, and benefits were supposed to be.

    UPDATE: TL and supporters recant their support for Armed Forces and reiterate their disdain for first responders at home and abroad. Basically anyone receiving a public sector DBP. Another example of their double talk further diminishing their credibility. Don’t take my word, click on the blog link and confirm for yourself;
    https://burypensions.wordpress.com/2015/05/26/phonying-up-numbers-to-suit-your-client/#comments

    To blame and demonize public workers for the current situation is unfair and untrue. Do politicians make “deals” with unions that don’t always have the taxpayers best interest? I think everyone knows the answer to that is yes. But politicians are always making “deals” it’s what they do. Just ask the various segment market corporations; defense spending (lucrative contracts), farming (subsidies) and the list goes on and on.

    Your bully tactics and demeaning attitude only motivate me more to push back your parties ridiculous vision for NJ and America. Yes I’m sure John knows all of our IP address, so you and your business name can be exposed as well.

    The purpose of continually posting this comment is to allow the counterpoint perspective to be heard. I will no longer personally engage your comments tit for tat.

    Reply

  6. Posted by Anonymous on May 29, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    You wont here from TL for at least several hours, she frequents happy hours especially on Fridays. And when she does surface it will be the alcohol talking

    Reply

  7. Posted by Eric on May 29, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    John:
    A very scary post regarding the corrupt political animal that the NJ Supreme Court has become. Long gone are the glory days of the legal giants such as Arthur T. Vanderbilt, Joseph Weintraub and of course, my favorite, Morris Pashman. NJ law is rarely cited any more. It is a cruel joke as is the rest of this state. A very sad and sobering commentary indeed. I am very sorry that I read your post today.
    I envy those who have moved beyond its (NJ’s ) stinking borders. I hope to join them someday. That day cannot come soon enough.
    Eric

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on May 29, 2015 at 10:22 pm

      Christie’s P&B Commission’s Roadmap to Resolution is a Detour to Nowhere. Local governments & Unions will never allow to shift TPAF responsibility from the State. Focus on what can be done within the current framework.

      Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on June 4, 2015 at 1:25 pm

        The State interferes with the existing NJABP payouts because of administration fees. There will always be a need for checks and balances for the greater good, participates, retirees, beneficiaries and taxpayers. The present state interactions with existing defined contribution retirement plans needs immediate attention, the vested monies belong to the employees but the retirement process for lifetime income is controlled by the state through the Division of Pensions and Benefits. Unlike other state pension funds NJABP does not have a board, there are no monthly meetings. One employee. represents the program. There are no public reports regarding fee revenue.

        Reply

    • I beleive the court has just ruled that Christie must pay the promised amount into the pension system. No real surprises here just playing out the drama so Christie can say well “I tried but the Democratic legislature and court system wouldn’t work with me”

      Reply

  8. Posted by Anonymous on May 29, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    Does anyone including John think that Christie may go to jail someday in the future.

    Reply

  9. 800,000 vs. 8,000,000. Simple Math. Although public takers prefer Common Core Math.

    Reply

    • Java, public takers are probably better at the “old” math, Common Core is more analytical in thinking but math is any form is probably not their strong suit as we can see how they cannot grasp the math involved with the demise of the system.

      Reply

  10. Posted by Anonymous on May 30, 2015 at 12:29 am

    Hey Java, how many congressmen compared to entire population of the US and do you think they give a crap about the people?

    Reply

  11. Thanx for the update. In addition, it appears the unions are downplaying this issue for now. Their primary argument is Christie isn’t following the law. The cola argument challenges the law. Are we better off I if the Court throws the flawed law out?

    Reply

    • Posted by truthnolie on June 1, 2015 at 11:49 am

      What are you talking about???…Christie’s own lawyers tried arguing that his own dreamed up law (Chap. 78) was unconstitutional and therefore the state shouldn’t have to follow it.

      Fine…..throw it out then and then go back to no healthcare contributions, repayment for those “illegal” contribution costs that were forced by the “unconstitutional” law, restoration of COLA, etc. and the erasing of all other stipulations of that law bringing everyone back to where it was before.

      Reply

  12. […] What does this mean for the COLA case? […]

    Reply

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