Archive for the ‘Union County’ Category

What NJEA Bought

On Thursday I witnessed seven of eight Union County politicians, against the will of the majority and common sense, repaying their campaign donors.

Today nj.com focused on the cautionary tale of New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney who crossed the teachers’ union and has wound up fighting against their money. In his defense (and including an astounding admission):

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Local Double-Dippers

Filtering data on participants in the New Jersey retirement for only those linked to Union County (including municipalities and authorities) yields 39,350 entries with total annual salaries of $1,353,357,535 and pensions of $612,010,813. Of those, 178 participants are double-dippers with annual salaries of $7,816,950 and pensions of $6,281,373 who fall into four categories (with examples): Continue reading

Pension Scofflaws

Dave and Cyndi Epstein were on a trip to Israel and decided to rent a car so that they could drive around and see the sites. As Dave pulled into a crowded Tel Aviv parking lot, he asked a police officer standing there, “Excuse me officer, is it all right to park here?”

“No,” said the cop. “Can’t you see that No Parking sign?”

“What about all those other cars in there?” Dave asked.

The cop shrugged. “They didn’t ask.”

In 2010 ‘reformer’ Christie took aim at curbing excessive benefits for public employees:

Gov. Chris Christie and lawmakers of both parties will unveil a series of sweeping pension and benefit reforms Monday that could affect every public employee in New Jersey while saving the state billions of dollars, according to four officials with direct knowledge of the plan.

The proposals would require workers and retirees at all levels of government and local school districts to contribute to their own health care costs, ban part-time workers at the state and local levels from participating in the underfunded state pension system, cap sick leave payouts for all public employees and constitutionally require the state to fully fund its pension obligations each year.

That state funding requirement turned out to be a joke and, after looking through the state database of active pension members, that ban on part-time workers does not seem to have completely taken in Union County.

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My One Informed Vote

Eric summed it up:

The only politician seemingly supporting retirees was Bernie Sanders, who got flattened by the Clinton corruption machine, which was in part, sponsored by the DNC.
Clinton belongs in prison; Trump belongs in the nut house.

This comment hit home when I got my election ballot and found there was only one vote that I could honestly cast as an informed citizen.

I know nothing about what Clinton or Trump will do for me in any significant way or what they stand for aside from whatever will work to get them the most votes.  The process we have of educating the public on presidential candidates is based on pundits, ignorant of important issues, trying to predict how voters, ignorant of important issues, will vote with no ingress for anything bordering on intelligent discourse.

Local candidates are just names on signs which means that I can expect them to be lackeys-first for the people who paid for those signs.

I also have no idea of what allowing casinos 72 miles from Atlantic City or using gas taxes to pay for roads will do for me or the state. I can only hope it makes it harder to embezzle tax money but I doubt it or else why would it be on the ballot? Then we get to Public Question #3 which should read:

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Better Off Not Being Eligible for State Plan

2016-849: Authorizing the County Manager to award a contract to Mutual of America, Parsippany, New Jersey, in an amount not to exceed $111,903.97 for the period of July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017 to implement an employee 401(a) benefits plan for county employees not covered under the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS).

As explained, this plan covers county employees who were at one time not eligible to enter the state plan:

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But aren’t those employees much better off since the plan they were not allowed to enter is one that New Jersey is responsible for funding?

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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….

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Tax Cut As Alien Concept

Union County freeholders are handpicked for, among other reasons, their unflagging support for maintaining and, where possible, expanding the tax base so as to benefit their patrons and, if possible, themselves. This has become so ingrained that the very concept of a tax cut is alien to their sensibilities.
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