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'A Tale of Two Christies,' NJ Senate Democrats Say

Group says governor is using another round of pension reform to build his credentials.

To the editor:

Before he was reelected, Chris Christie couldn’t say enough about how wonderful the pension reforms he signed into law were. On countless occasions he used pension reform to bolster his image and as a citation for bipartisan accomplishments. But now that he is working to build a national profile—and possibly distract from a few other things—he suddenly decides the reforms were not good enough.

But don’t just take our word for it. Here is some of the praise from Christie himself:

“As a result of Democrats and Republicans coming together to confront the tough issues, we are providing a sustainable future for our pension and health benefit system, saving New Jersey taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars and securing a fiscally responsible future for our state.” (Gov. Chris Christie’s Office, June 20, 2011 press release) 

“The reforms will ensure long-term solvency, while slowing the rapid growth of government costs, spending and taxes that have overwhelmed taxpayers.” (Gov. Chris Christie’s Office, June 23, 2011 press release)

"What this legislation will do is simply to save the pension system for all those retirees and public employees who are counting on that retirement. It will save and protect the taxpayer and it will restore choice and fairness to a public sector system that had run completely out of control." (June 15, 2011 speech to Employer Legislative Committees State Dinner)

“The pensions of every state worker, of every teacher, and of every retired municipal employee are more secure today. By the tough choices we made together, we saved their pensions.” (State of the State Address, January 17, 2012)

“They said it was impossible to touch the third rail of politics, to take on the public-sector unions and to reform a pension and health benefits system that was headed to bankruptcy.  But with bipartisan leadership, we saved taxpayers $132 billion dollars over 30 years and saved retirees their pensions.  We did it.” (Keynote address August 28, 2012 at GOP National Convention)

“Securing the future of New Jersey’s pension system to protect current and future retirees was a paramount goal of the bipartisan pension and health benefits reform legislation we successfully fought for last year. These reforms are not only saving the taxpayers of our state at least $132 billion over the next 30 years but, just as importantly, they are also ensuring that the pensions are protected for the hardworking men and women who are counting on them.” (Gov. Chris Christie’s Office, May 3, 2012 press release)

“We’ve taken historic, bipartisan action to fix a broken public pension system that would have been insolvent in a matter of years without bold intervention. This is a serious and significant new step to protect the integrity of the system and guard every taxpayer dollar and employee contribution from fraud and abuse.” (Gov. Chris Christie’s Office, August 07, 2013 press release)

The above letter was submitted by New Jersey Senate Democrats, a legislative group representing the state senate majority. They are led by Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg.

Joe R March 02, 2014 at 09:06 PM
N.J. has 2nd-highest percentage of households worth $1 million or more, study says: http://www.nj.com/business/index.ssf/2014/01/new_jersey_keeps_minting_millionaires_ranks_2_in_nation.html
Joe R March 02, 2014 at 09:28 PM
From the US Census: Population, 2010 (April 1) estimates base 8,791,909 Population, 2012 estimate 8,867,749 Population, 2013 estimate 8,899,339 Notice that the population increases, not by gigantic amounts but it continually goes up. It's already a crowded state, we don't need a gigantic leap in population. http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/34000.html
Roll Back Our Tax March 02, 2014 at 09:30 PM
Joe R....read the post again. Did the article say anything about losing population? it talks about losing wealth. BTW...with immigration and deaths vs birth and people living longer every state in the Union has gained in population.
David March 03, 2014 at 11:13 AM
@ Mike. Personally have no problem with teachers making even $60K or even a little more(it is not an easy career from my purview). However, Medians & averages do not give us a good picture of the high salaries, $110K is what I heard about one district in Morris Cty, however if the following link if accurate, shows $110 is not unreasonable where the average salary is $90K in the highest district: http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2013/11/which_nj_school_districts_pay_their_teachers_the_most.html Thanks for the medical % link. Apologies for the medical % misunderstanding. (Should be noted that bill was introduced in 2011 so the increased medical expense has only been implemented for a short time, i.e. approx 2yrs) Also, following link has a table for school in Morris County, not here picking on them just example, these are all teachers making over 6 digits and are not administrators or principles & an Eastbrunswick example where the top salary teachers are approaching 6 digits(which I'm not complaining about, just to give a local perspective and all in all show 6 digit salaries are made by teachers in this state and although likely not a majority but comprise more than a couple exceptions). And again not against the teachers since I commend what they do, but this is on the administrators who pay themselves high 6 figure salaries and teachers into the 6-digits. If the teacher works 12 mos a year fr the district with comparable time off to other public/private sector jobs then 6-digits salaries does become more balanced & reasonable. http://php.app.com/edstaff/results2.php?pageNum_Recordset1=4&totalRows_Recordset1=764&county=MORRIS&district=Parsippany-Troy+Hills+Township+Schools&school=%25&lname=&fname=&job1=%25&tfm_order=DESC&tfm_orderby=SALARY php.app.com/edstaff/results2.php?pageNum_Recordset1=5&totalRows_Recordset1=819&county=MIDDLESEX&district=EAST+BRUNSWICK+PUBLIC+SCHOOLS&school=%25&lname=&fname=&job1=%25&tfm_order=DESC&tfm_orderby=SALARY
Joe R March 03, 2014 at 11:27 AM
A small fraction of NJ teachers are earning above $100k, teachers with 25 plus years of experience and probably with advanced degrees. From northjersey.com, 2010: "Overall, the 1,847 teachers whose salaries were above $100,000 made up just 1.6 percent of the state's 116,000 public school teachers. The majority of teachers earned between $40,000 and $60,000, according to the data, the most recent available" - See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/93873679_A_hot_spot_for_higher_teacher_earnings.html#sthash.gEsipEql.dpuf
Brian March 03, 2014 at 11:51 AM
As everyone is bashing the cop, firefighter, and teacher this is going on because CC doesn't want his friends taking any heat, while they are taking free money. http://newjersey.watchdog.org/2014/03/03/christie-pension-hypocrisy/
Joe R March 03, 2014 at 11:55 AM
I'd like to get the salary figures for the charter school CEOs, owners, administrators and heads of the board of directors of these charter schools?
Brian March 03, 2014 at 12:05 PM
Joe, I don't have those numbers, but I would imagine, like any other private sector company with those jobs, they aren't worried about missing a mortgage or car payment...
Roll Back Our Tax March 03, 2014 at 12:35 PM
Obviously Joe R and Brian like carrying on public employee conversations and one can't read or gets too excited to discount my posts and the other doesn't have any facts to back up his arguments. Then there's Terry Moore barely making over $30K @ Stockton College. If anyone should be complaining it should be Terry.
David March 03, 2014 at 12:47 PM
Brian, not bashing the average public servant at all. Point before was even the easy target such as one making only $5K above norm being around 1,800 employees, that's $9Mill total. Could give a nice chunk of property tax payers relief. 9,000 property tax payers could save $1K each. But unfortunately these savings would goto those making even more such as shown in your link above or the inefficiencies in running such a savings program in the first place.
Roll Back Our Tax March 03, 2014 at 12:56 PM
David....here's a listing of teachers throughout all of NJ K-8th salaries in descending order and I see plenty making over $110 K per year and if I'm not mistaken one making $827 K with 12 years service... http://php.app.com/edstaff/results2.php?county=%25&district=%25&school=%25&lname=&fname=&job1=Elementary+Kindergraten-8+Grade&tfm_order=DESC&tfm_orderby=SALARY
Brian March 03, 2014 at 12:57 PM
Roll, I don't read your posts or links. You don't live here any longer and I'm happy you were about to go find happiness somewhere else. I don't wish bad on you or anyone else. But, your opinion doesn't matter here in New Jersey anymore. @David, I didn't take yours as a bashing against the public worker. You're right, any savings would go to someone already doing pretty darn well already. This healthcare reform was supposed to save tax payers money, guess what, no taxes have gone down. The state just uses the money in other places. People are foolish to think that by wishing the pensions run dry, or workers being laid off, will save them money. This is New Jersey people! Someone in or connected closely to Trenton always has the proverbial gun to someone else's head asking for the money from the register.
Joe R March 03, 2014 at 03:39 PM
Maybe that teacher earning $82K with 12 years experience has advanced degrees and is teaching in a richey rich district? That level wage at 12 years is highly unusual, something else must be going on?
Roll Back Our Tax March 03, 2014 at 03:56 PM
Joe R...are your reading deficient? it's $827K!! If you can count please roll through the page after page of those making over $100K and that's just the K-8th grades.
Roll Back Our Tax March 03, 2014 at 04:12 PM
Wait till this whole Ponzi retirement scheme comes tumbling down. The system only works if they have enough people with enough money paying into it and the ones that got out first and were able to start collecting retirement benefits in time will be the ones that will reap the most reward. The rest of you that still have a number of years left to retire I wish you the best. It doesn't matter where the tax money come from it's whether people are still willing to pay the price for living in New Jersey. I told all three of my kids once they graduated from college to move out of this state. They did and that's 3 less families to pay into the system.
Joe R March 03, 2014 at 06:39 PM
@ rollback: You are seriously saying that a teacher with 12 years experience is earning $827,000?!!!? Ha, ha, ha, ha. I thought you made a typo and accidentally hit the 7. There is no way that a teacher, any teacher in a public school has a salary of $827,000. That's nonsense, utter nonsense. It's an obvious mistake and typo. A teacher making $827,000 would be a major news story. But of course it's total fantasy crapola on steroids.
Joe R March 03, 2014 at 07:50 PM
One of the teachers from that list that roll over posted is earning $25,538 after 7 years. How accurate is this list? BERGEN ALLENDALE BOARD OF EDUCATION Brookside CALABRESE FRANCESCA L 7 $25,538
Roll Back Our Tax March 03, 2014 at 08:15 PM
Joe R...you want to really ask what's wrong with education in NJ and why kids can't afford to attend college any longer. here's list of college educators in NJ and the list starts at $1.2M.... http://php.app.com/abp/results.php?lname=&fname=&location=%25&tfm_order=DESC&tfm_orderby=salary
Brian March 03, 2014 at 08:29 PM
That is a secondary education issue. You are 100% right as far as college being unaffordable for many. But, it is a different issue than what Christie has been addressing. He is out to degrade k-12 teachers. He doesn't mess with the rich. There are more issues with college education than I can wrap my head around. I was lucky enough to have parents that were able to afford putting both, myself and brother through college. But, my wife, like very many, wasn't so fortunate. Student loan rates are through the roof. It is so difficult for kids to come out of college today, get a job (never mind in their field of study), buy a car, and move out of their parents home. That is a major federal issue. The economy is a mess and that sure as hell isn't helping.
Chief Wahoo March 03, 2014 at 09:10 PM
Just wait until the S&P collapses in the Spring. Then it's game over....
Roll Back Our Tax March 03, 2014 at 09:20 PM
Chief Wahoo...sure looking that way. The DJA is starting to look like 1929 right before the crash.... http://disinfo.com/2014/02/stock-market-chart-looks-just-like-1929-crash/
Roll Back Our Tax March 03, 2014 at 09:25 PM
Here read all about it. The smart ones already have their money out :-).... http://www.marketwatch.com/story/scary-1929-market-chart-gains-traction-2014-02-11
Sun Tzu March 04, 2014 at 08:12 AM
I recently sold the remainder of my stocks for more tangible assets. I don't think it's fair to support a system that puts a burden on future generations with the debt of quantitative easing.
Roll Back Our Tax March 04, 2014 at 08:34 AM
Whether you're a Democrat or Republican the one thing we can agree on is "the news is watered down". Whether you agree "quantitative easing" was the right thing to do for a failing US economic policy or not it's small potatoes compared to what's happening with the worldwide events. Wait till Putin cuts off the petro and natural gas supplies to Eastern Europe. Then we will have to support the Ukraine people with the treaty we signed in 1994 when Bill Clinton was President. The Chinese will then decide to cut off our flow of credit to us as they side with the Russians! None of this is being reported. All they show is John McCain saying "Obama is weak" and we are "no longer a strong military nation". What do they want to do? Spark WWIII?
Sun Tzu March 04, 2014 at 08:45 AM
I think we are straying a little far from the topic of the article.
Roll Back Our Tax March 04, 2014 at 08:57 AM
Sun Tzu...I know I did. I was just watching the news and was thinking about all the $ we borrowed from the Chinese and the Republicans blaming the Democrats and visa versa for the poor economy. When I saw your comment about quantitative easing responding to my comment about the DJA and this article about "Democrats and Republicans coming together" I thought "what's this all about"? It's about money! Money we don't have and money we still want to spend. The system is broke and yet we want more and more and more.
Joe R March 04, 2014 at 09:15 AM
One of the huge problems is the deregulation binge that this country went on since Reagan. The banking/financial sector was deregulated which paved the way for so much legal criminality, greed gone wild and knuckle-headed risk taking. The elimination of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999 was an open invitation to corruption on a gigantic scale and we are still paying the price for that heinous action. Canada did not go on a deregulation binge, it maintained its strict and strong banking laws. The US has had hundreds of bank failures while Canada has had none.
Roll Back Our Tax March 04, 2014 at 09:46 AM
Joe R....China has a record of bailing out banks that are in distress. But with a state controlled press you never get the full details. But interest rate swaps are at a record high there is a big chance of bank failures in China now. Canada on the other hand has had 2 during S&L crisis that I know of and if one more fails, they have a secret plan to confiscate wealth from their depositors for their 6 bank oligopoly which isn't very competitive. As fas as Glass Steagal you're right, "it shouldn't have been repealed".
Mac March 04, 2014 at 02:59 PM
so much for that secret
Roll Back Our Tax March 06, 2014 at 06:11 AM
So much for Detroit being only big city in America insolvent... http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2014/03/04/moodys-downgrades-chicagos-credit-rating-lowest-of-any-major-city-except-detroit/

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