TRENTON N.J. (CBS) – Some bad news for New Jersey from Wall Street, as Standard and Poors lowered the state’s bond rating yesterday one level from “AA” to “AA-“. That may not sound like much, but it’ll make it more difficult, not to mention more expensive for the state to borrow money. The governor and the legislature blamed each other.
Chris Christie’s press office issued a statement suggesting the assembly and senate “take a sober look” at things and pass what they call “comprehensive pension and benefit reform.” Assembly Budget Committee chair Lou Greenwald, a Cherry Hill Democrat, suggests Christie take a good, long look in the mirror.
“They didn’t downgrade because of the lack of pension reform. They downgraded because the governor failed to make a pension payment.”
The state pension system is underfunded to the tune of almost $54 billion, and unless changes are made, it could eventually collapse. Legislators took action on the pension system last year, but not enough to satisfy the governor. Christie wants the retirement age increased from 62 to 65 and to roll back a decade old pension hike and increase worker contributions to the fund.
Reported by David Madden, KYW Newsradio