The Scheduling Order in Berg v. Christie came out today with the New Jersey Supreme Court setting December 14, 2015 as the date when all briefs are to be filed meaning that we could see oral arguments around February and a decision by May, 2016.
Though something Chris Christie said on Meet the Press last Sunday could mean that even if Cost-of-Living-Adjustments have to return we may be in a Bleak-House scenario where the money for them will all be gone.
We have most of this spiel but the part about being able to pay its bills is new.
Those bills consist of some $10 billion in annual payouts to retirees and, as many of my cheerily benighted public sector friends keep telling me, no payment has ever been skipped (reduced by COLA removal yes, but never skipped). So why is Chris Christie bragging about still being able to keep making those payments? Isn’t there $79 billion in the fund with $5 billion in contributions coming in annually? Are we that close to pay-go?
Warning: wild speculation ahead with absolutely no proof behind it outside of experience with deceitful government bureaucracy:
With the stock market tanking and all that money in alternative investments I see Christie going to his pension people and asking for an update on the status of the plan and being told they can still ‘pay the bills’…but for how long? I sense they are playing games with the asset values (even beyond what you would expect from alternative investments) and we are not far from being told that the pension assets have been madoffed.