Bribing Politicians To Fund Pensions

New Jersey politicians failed to follow orders from their public-sector union paymasters who got so mad that they threatened to hold back bribe money to which the New Jersey Senate president (and lead bribe-taker) threatened legal action.

A rare situation (since most politicians do follow through on what they have been paid for) but this could be a valuable lesson for the unions who would help most New Jerseyans if they changed tactics.

For example….

We have a situation in Union County that I am chronicling now on http://www.countywatchers.com.  The first three blogs are out and to summarize:

  1. Nicholas Netta made campaign donations to the right people
  2. who pushed through a massively expensive project favored by about 10% of their constituency but 100% of Nicholas Netta
  3. which will bankrupt Roselle.

There will be more on countywatchers exploring nuances of the process but the point is that this goes on throughout the state with billions of dollars spent on mostly non-essential projects because of the politician/donor symbiosis that makes a mockery of representative democracy.  Those billions could be going to fund pensions if exposing the guys in the back of the rooms pulling the strings became the union game-plan.
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30 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by dentss dunnigan on August 24, 2016 at 9:49 am

    never al Sweeney fan but he did put a spotlight on what the unions have been doing for years to get the taxpayer to pay top dollar to get anything done .Now I’m almost sorry the pension bill isn’t on the ballott .All one has to do is look and read .Hopefully next year people won’t forget any of this corruption .

    Reply

  2. Posted by NY on August 24, 2016 at 10:19 am

    It’s a kabuki dance between Sweeney and unions. Better to have the amendment on the ballot in a non-presidential year: smaller, more-motivated– much more amendment-friendly — electorate. So best to fake a little conflict (also good for Sweeney’s street cred with the general public), wait a year, and everybody (except the chumps that pay taxes) wins–

    Reply

  3. Posted by boscoe on August 24, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    I know next to nothing about Roselle but I do have a couple of questions: If this project was pushed through over the opposition of 90 percent of Roselle’s residents, were the borough council and school board members who voted for the project ousted by the electorate since that time? And how on earth could an RFP for a $59 million redevelopment project receive only one response?

    Reply

    • It’s not that 90% of the people oppose the project. It’s that 90% of the people don’t know about the project. If everyone knew about it my guess is that 90% would oppose it because of the various costs without much return (outside of that quality of life stuff which is debatable here since a major project is being set in the middle of a residential neighborhood ill-suited for the extra traffic flow, etc.).

      The first that most people in Roselle will hear of this project is when they hear the bulldozers.

      Reply

  4. Posted by dentss dunnigan on August 24, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    I just checked Roselle property tax ..they have the one of the highest rates in the state at $8.00 per $100. and there not even at 100% assesment . you have homes for sale under 100K with taxes over 8K.. http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/111-E-10th-Ave_Roselle_NJ_07203_M55144-78230….what is wrong with this state

    Reply

  5. Posted by Anonymous on August 24, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    Since you characterize public unions as “bribing” politicians, you must feel the same way about Citizens United. In a sweep of the pen, you insinuate that unions should merely accept political decisions. To put this in perspective, the Koch brothers alone contributed more than 10x the amount of the NJEA. Do you really think the Kochs don’t expect candidates to back positions beneficial to their financial interests? Hundreds of thousands of people vs. two.

    We all know the problem is the result of the state not paying their share. Don’t blame the public employees. By all means, change the pension system. Of course you won’t be able to find teachers and police officers in urban districts at all.

    Reply

    • Posted by dentss dunnigan on August 24, 2016 at 8:20 pm

      No one is blaming the public workers …it’s the politicians making promises that they know they don’t have to keep and most likely they know they never will be kept …go after the politicians who are trying to put the next few generations into debt just so they could get elected …

      Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on August 25, 2016 at 8:33 am

        actually it is the politicians (Whitman mostly) who gave tax cuts to the rich and didn’t pay for services that public workers performed. blame belongs to the voters of nj who wanted and still want something for nothing from public workers. the pensions where EARNED as were the cola’s and health benefits. NJ voters forget that they ELECTED Whitman and accepted tax cuts and didn’t pay the debt that was owed then when the work was performed. And by the way what about Christie’s spending sandy money on basketball player oneil’s project and the other projects that had nothing to do with sandy. then refuses to raise taxes needed to fund the pensions. It is actually sickening how the media and many on this site continue to divide working class people from each other, such as public and private workers while as stated above citizens united and pay to play by the drug industry and oil industry own the political system to the benefit of the rich… then tell the middle class we will give you a tax cut that usually amounts to almost nothing for the middle class but lots for the 1% as did Whitman.

        Reply

        • Posted by dentss dunnigan on August 25, 2016 at 9:43 am

          Like I said blame the politicians ….go after them NJ is the highest taxed state in country even though politicians have promised to lower taxes for the last 20 years

          Reply

          • Posted by Anonymous on August 25, 2016 at 12:02 pm

            no educate the voters. taxes for your property went up and you got a miniscule income tax cut while millionaires got a huge income tax cut. so nj may be the highest tax state but not for the top brackets. as I stated the 1% got a huge cut the middle class next to nothing but were convinced as they are trying to do now, to vote tax cuts…. and not pay their bills. so that once again the 1% make out fine. 30% tax cut on a million dollars is a little more beneficial than a 30% tax cut on 50000 or 10000 of income. So blame certain politicians but the voters are the ones who put them in office. ignorance in the case of voters isn’t bliss.

          • Posted by dentss dunnigan on August 25, 2016 at 12:18 pm

            Income tax is for education only it has nothing to do with pensions ,the D’s tried to raise income taxes and use the increase until they realized that income taxes are constitutional dedicated to education …so it’s meaningless to to parrot the union mantra of “stop the cuts for the rich” .Which actually worked at keeping money in the state .once the taxes were raised that’s when money started to flee “More than two million people left New Jersey between 2005 and 2014, taking billions of dollars in income and economic activity with them” ..http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/02/nj_high_living_expenses_costing_jobs_people_money.html

          • Posted by Anonymous on August 25, 2016 at 2:24 pm

            DD true about GIT dedication BUT take a look at the Budget TPAF ARC is fungible from this bucket!

          • Posted by boscoe on August 27, 2016 at 1:18 am

            Technical FYI (dents dunnigan) on the income tax: The NJ Gross Income Tax per the state constitution, is not dedicated solely to education; it is dedicated “exclusively for the purpose of reducing or offsetting property taxes.” While the largest expenditure is by far for education, well over $1 billion is spent from the Property Tax Relief Fund (the depository for income tax revenues) on municipal aid, debt service on pension obligation bonds, aid to Essex and Union counties for housing inmates, homestead rebates, property tax exemptions and deductions for veterans and seniors, etc. And of course, within overall school aid, the second largest category (after direct school aid) consists of TPAF expenditures on pensions, employer Social Security taxes and post-retirement medical benefits.

          • Posted by Anonymous on August 30, 2016 at 7:43 pm

            Of course NJ is one of the highest taxed states, it has the highest incomes and property values. A better indicator is percentage taxed.

    • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on August 26, 2016 at 7:03 am

      Maybe they just want Sweeney to come to their wedding…

      “Hillary Clinton, I said be at my wedding, and she came to my wedding,” Trump said. “She had no choice because I gave to [the] foundation.”

      (She didn’t bring a gift.)

      Reply

  6. Posted by Anonymous on August 25, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    I don’t think most people really understand how silly it is to claim that a tax is devoted to one obligation even by law. Let’s say one billion dollars has been allotted to education in the budget in previous years and then the state institutes an income tax to add money in the budget for education. Now if the new tax brings in another 2 billion dollars , you should theoretically have 3 billion for education in the budget, but it never works that way. Once the tax is put in place, there is nothing preventing the state from reducing the original amount that the state was paying out in its previous budgets. So if the state, say devotes the new 2 billion to funding education by law, that doesn’t mean there will be 3 billion in the Education budget. No, there may be the 2 billion, but the state is free to move the suggested one billion to other obligations if it chooses. So because of that freedom to move funds elsewhere as needed, the dedicated money is technically being used as promised, but is the tax really only benefiting education if money in the budget not dedicated is then moved to pay for other things ? That is what happens

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on August 30, 2016 at 7:44 pm

      Perhaps you don’t understand the state has paid next to nothing. Most of the money in the plan is from the workers.

      Reply

  7. Posted by Anonymous on August 26, 2016 at 12:02 am

    dentss dunnigan, In several commets above you said “No one is blaming the public workers”, “go after the politicians”, and “blame the politicians….go after them”.

    Mostly, you are on targget in your commentary, but here, your thinking is wrongheaded. We have a structure in place where past and future pension promises far exceed reason and the ability to pay. Do you believe that personally “going after” the politicians” will generate the revenue needed to fully fund these promises. Do they personally have the $100 -$200 Billion needed?

    While I agree that the workers are not to be “blamed”, they are the financial beneficiaries of these promises and the only workable solution is to reduced the amount of those promises, past and future. The recent showdown with Sweeney acusing the Unions of extortion shows that these promises were bought, not earned.

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on August 26, 2016 at 7:55 am

      If your rationale is the benefits were “bought” not “earned” then go after ALL political conttibutions and stop ALL special interest lobbyist and put ALL governmental subsidies and grants on a constitutional amendment – no exceptions no excuses.

      Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on August 26, 2016 at 8:53 am

      Bottom line is everyone (or at least almost) thinks change is good unless it negatively impacts them. Various special interests and their beneficiaries being one prime example.

      Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on August 26, 2016 at 3:41 pm

      first of all they were not “promises” they were CONTRACTS. So you are basically saying that if hire someone to paint your house and you later decide the contract you signed with that person benefits them financially and doesn’t benefit you financially because you already spent the money for the paint job on a vacation, you have the right to tell the man you hired sorry, I have to reduce the amount I am going to pay you and my only “workable solution” is to stiff you of your money and your contract. what a way to run a state, personal life and a country.

      Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on August 27, 2016 at 1:19 am

        “Contracts” yes, but with neither side sitting at the negotiating table rightfully representing the ultimate payer, the Taxpayers.

        Unfortunately for Taxpayers, the Unions on one side, and Elected Official or their management representatives on the other, both seek the same goal, well-pensioned, happy campaign-contributing Unions.

        Such contracts should rightfully be declared unenforceable and should in any event be ignored by the taxpayers who are handed the bill.

        Reduce the fraudulently obtained pension “promises”, past and future.

        Reply

        • Posted by Anonymous on August 27, 2016 at 8:42 am

          Using YOUR rationale same is true for Federal & Military pensions – printing money isn’t relevant?

          Reply

          • Posted by Anonymous on August 27, 2016 at 9:58 am

            Sounds like you or a family member are or will be on the collecting end of one of these fraudulently granted Local or State pubic pensions.

          • Posted by Anonymous on August 27, 2016 at 10:38 am

            And what about you and yours, I noticed to didn’t address my point? Voting for Trump with your flip flops on?

        • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on August 31, 2016 at 4:39 pm

          “Such contracts should rightfully be declared unenforceable and should in any event be ignored by the taxpayers who are handed the bill.
          Reduce the fraudulently obtained pension “promises”, past and future.”
          ————————–‘
          You would have much more impact if you would CAPS LOCK at least one out of twelve words in your post, e.g.

          “Public Sector Unions are a CANCER on society.”

          Reply

      • Posted by Anonymous on August 30, 2016 at 7:46 pm

        If the state of NJ cannot honor it’s contracts, the problems will extend far beyond the pension system. Bond payments would be first to go.

        Reply

  8. Posted by Anonymous on August 27, 2016 at 10:57 am

    Mexico will pay to build “that wall” and mass deportation my *ss….. What a bunch of hypocrites!

    Reply

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