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NJ Gov. Christie Signs Bill Cutting Public Employee Benefits

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey governor Chris Christie has signed into law landmark employee benefits legislation requiring a half-million public workers to pay more for pension and health benefits.

Christie says the move is necessary to shore up the state’s badly underfunded retirement systems. He predicts New Jersey’s fix will be emulated nationally by other states facing similar shortfalls.

The Republican governor said the bill he signed today got through the state legislature because of bipartisan support.  Democrats who lead the legislature supported it (see related story), but most rank-and-file lawmakers sided with public-sector unions in opposing it.

The bill puts benefits for teachers, police, and other public workers more in line with the private sector.

More than 8,000 demonstrated at the capitol last week in the last of three union-sponsored protests.

(Copyright 2011 by the Associated Press.  All rights reserved.)

More from David Madden
  • NotALemming

    Good for the Governor, standing up to these union thugs and bullies. They constantly poor-mouth; yet they have plenty of cash for prime time TV commercials, and KYW radio spots.

  • Lastest Health Benefits News | Acai Berry Productions

    […] NJ Gov. Christie Signs Bill Cutting Public Employee Benefits Christie says the move is necessary to shore up the state’s badly underfunded retirement systems. He predicts New Jersey’s fix will be emulated nationally by other states facing similar shortfalls. Read more on CBS Philadelphia […]

  • James Moore

    Well to union haters out there – just go to cbs news or 60 minutes and look up pension benefit guaranty… its something the govt offers as insurance like the FDIC protects deposits. NOW back in the 1990’s corporate America took advantage and raided the pensions and then simply abandoned the underfunded liabilities over to the Federal govt… THATS why private industry doesnt have pensions nowadays. Learn your history or be doomed to repeat it… as we are now doing with Gov. Christie. I D I O T S SPEAK LOUDER THAN SENSE

  • jge

    give the govenor and the rest of the pol’s the same health care they won’t the state wokers to accept. they would sing a different toon.

  • joe

    Enough is enough. Every time you turn around the government (repulbicans) want to take more money from the working class and at the same time give them self and their buddies tax brakes. I do understand that the funds are low but that is the governments problem for borrowing from and never paying back and also stopped paying their part into it. The solution to all this is why don’t the government works start paying part of their health and pension funds and start usieg the tax payers money on things that really need it. But we all know that will never happen.

  • mario

    “Now a few words about education. You know we receive an education in the schools from books. All those books that people became educated from 25 years ago, are wrong now, and those that are good now, will be wrong again 25 years from now. So if they are wrong then, they are also wrong now, and the one who is educated from the wrong books is not educated, he is misled.All books that are written are wrong, the one who is not educated cannot write a book and the one who is educated, is really not educated but he is misled and the one who is misled cannot write a book which is correct.

  • grumpy

    Divide and conquer is doing well in America! Which group will be next? Sound familiar?

  • Enough Is Enough

    Folks are angry because they can’t find jobs, they don’t have benefits and life has changed, while union members have not seen the same decline because they made the decision years ago to forgo wages for good benefits. It is not fair to hate them now for the decision they made years ago. Just make them pay their fair share, but enough with the bashing, we all had choices!!

  • Kevin

    I am a school principal in a small New Jersey school district who contributed to my pension for thirty-three years. For fourteen of those years, New Jersey politicians failed to fund the retirement system so they could use the money for “other priorities.” If this was the private sector, the people who did so would be arrested, and convicted. Because they’re politicians and lawyers, nothing is said or done about it. No one wants to talk about this part of the pension system problems because Christie, like individuals in Europe during the 1930’s, understands “the bigger the lie, the easier it is to get the populace to believe it.”

    • john

      Hey Kevin did Christie do this? no so way bring it up when you retire are you not going to get your full pension? I hate when this is the best thing people can come up with for an excuse we didn’t do it Christie didn’t do it and your union let it happen you should be mote upset about how the NJEA steals from you (and us) NJ taxpayers

      • John

        Hey John yes Christy did do it. Since he took office he has skipped over 3 billion dollars in State obligated pension payments. I know your also going to blame the union for that.

    • Robin

      Absolutely right, Kevin!

      In Athens, they don’t put up with this sort of political thuggery. How many more of us have to end up homeless and die before our time before we stop these crooks?

      • sickofitinca

        Go to Athens. We won’t miss you here.

    • Janice Ponter

      Kevin is entirely correct. The State “borrowed” from the state pension fund for years and never re-payed. In the real world that is called embezzlement! The pension fund was not underfunded, it was raped and pillaged!

      • sickofitinca

        So let’s see, the social security system that is supposed to be a ‘lockbox’ has been “borrowed” from since day #1 and it is now in danger of going bankrupt. The road taxes that we all pay when we buy fuel for our cars and trucks has been stolen from since teh day they imposed the tax and the roads throughout the US are in horrible repair (except Texas for the most part) and they want to figure out how to get us to pay more tax to fix the roads because they have stolen all the money. Why should retirement pensions be any different?

  • josie terry

    Gov. Christie: When are you going to start checking out why we have so many school superintendents in NJ? Other states larger than ours don’t even have 1/4 of the superintendents that NJ has. There really is no need for three high schools to have one superinendent.

    • Bryan

      Yes! Thank you!. There are about seven high school within a ten mile radius of where I live and each have their own school district, administrative staff, and superintendent! I went to Lenape Regional in Medford, and they have one superintendent for five schools. I just don’t get the point of it.

  • josie terry

    Do you people know that teachers, administrators and other school personnel all receive a nice hefty check every 4 months when they forgo their health insurance and hook onto their spouses? And it’s our NJ taxes that pay for that I know of no other profession that has such a nice perk as that.
    Go, Gov. Christie. Finally someone is putting a stop to some of the corruption going on in NJ.

    • Robin

      That’s a bald-faced lie.

      Christie’s middle name is Corruption.

    • David

      I hate to burst your bubble but I dont work for the state and my company pays me a monthly buy-out. It not a perk, its normal proceedure. Maybe you should discuss this with your employer? Don’t be so quick to point your fingers!

  • Rick

    When it comes to public employees unions i think this sums it up

  • gl

    unions suck..nice job Gov !

  • gnojham

    what we need is a similar law for government employees.

  • Buid Crawfoed

    Time to cut Christies Benefits !!

    • John mERSINGER

      really???? is that the best you can come up with PATHETIC

  • Phil

    Just putting things more in line with the private sector. Union members are the greediest people on earth. I know someone who works for the DEP and gets $100,000 even and still complains. No sympathy for me. He was all ready crying about the governors great job. Sorry cry babies. Remember when you took a state job for the benefits then they over came the private sector for salary and benefits. You would really complain when there is no money for your retirement in 10 years.

  • Wayne

    Because obviously us public employee’s are raking in the cash. I make less than 40k a year after being at my current job for 7 years. Im just rolling in the dough. This state is going to chase away the police fire and ems and everyone else who works in the public sector ensuring your safety.

    • Mia

      What do you do for 40K a year? And if you don’t like your job I’ll take it!

      • Wayne

        Im a Public Safety Telecommunicator, which is a fancy way of saying I work at the county level as a 911 Police/Fire/Ems Dispatcher. Its not about liking or disliking my job, its the fact that people think we are making so much money that we can afford to take a massive cut in what we take home. Trying to stop the bleeding by cutting your other wrist is not an effective option. Eventually Christie is going to bleed us dry

    • John

      Wayne I hear you but there are many people that are making the same as you or less and are paying $150.00 a week plus for poor bennies and no pension sucks all around this country needs universal health care greatest country in the world and we don’t take care of our own

  • BIll

    Finally someone stands up to the union BS. Public service employees should pay for their benefits just like the rest of us. They should pay the same percentage as all of us. Why should I pay for mine and for their’s? The unions have had everything their way until we are broke. I would like the unions to list
    list how much salary their folks drag counting benefits. Show us what an assembly line guy drags home or even bus drivers!

    • White Wolf

      Anyone who thinks public works employees get anything for free, go untaxed, or pay nothing are mistaken.

      Public works employees (including teachers) DO pay for their benefits! My parents were both teachers for 30 years in this state! They never got free vacations, they never got free health care! They paid their taxes and into their social security, workman’s compensation, state taxes, and into their benefits costs just like everyone else, and they brought their job home with them 24/7.

      If they weren’t teaching in the classroom, they were grading papers, creating lesson plans, and even creating textbooks at home, because the school districts made them teach certain subjects, but didn’t give them the books for them! Over the summer, they kept on working preparing for the next year, and even had to dig into their own pockets to pay for classroom supplies!

      Teachers get NOTHING for free! Stop listening to Christie when he lies to you!

      Oh, yeah, Christie, fails to mention that it was Whitman who started this whole mess in 1995 by thinking she could borrow from the state’s pension fund without any side effects.

      • cy

        I find that hard to believe. First of all, teachers get summers off if they don’t choose to teach summer school… even if they do some work during the summer to prepare, they get SOME time off – i.e. a vacation. It has also been stated in numerous articles and such that teachers in NJ pay nothing into their health benefits. In fact, last year when a bill was going to be passed to require them to put in 1.5% (what other state workers pay), the Union sued. Paying Federal and State taxes isn’t ‘benefits’ and Social Security is not a private account from which you draw when you retire. It’s a ponzi scheme where current ‘investor’s’ pay for the benefits being dolled out to current beneficiaries. Pretty sure workman’s comp is paid by the company… so not sure where you get the impression that your parents paid for benefits. Not doubting they worked hard and were good at their jobs but you don’t choose to be a teacher to make lots of money… especially when it’s off the backs of your neighbors.

      • Joe

        White bringing up Whitman is absurd SO WHAT she is gone and thats the past instead of following what other gov’s did he is making a CHANGE as for nothing free there are plenty of great perks of the job pension (most of private sector doesn’t have) cheap health care and plenty of sick and vaca time I’m not complaing about that it’s the job they have and it comes with the job what I am saying is health care is 150.00 a week for me 220 for my friend my sisters 170 everyone should contrubute to their health care period as for taking work home we ALL do it so what


    If governor Corzinie wants to balance our buget, Then why don’t he start with his own “PAYCHECK”…… I’m sick and tired of him cutting EVERYTHING…. except his own wallet!!!! NOT VOTING FOR HIM AT NEXT ELECTION!!!!
    Let him try to “LIVE ON $23,000.00 A YEAR.

  • Mama

    Haters.Hate people if they work and are unionized. Hate people if they don’t work and need public assistance. “But what about Meeeeeee? What about MY stuff? Nobody should have anything I don’t have!” (Unless of course they are millionaires or billionaires. Then you repubs just hand them every cent you can possibly find under your seat cushions.

    • Maegi Mac

      Mama, Time to grow-up! You sound like a 6 year old throwing a tantrum !
      Get over yourself,

    • john

      Wow mama that is sad I almost feel sorry for you I hope you are not employed by our state, public works, police, fire schools you are borderline crazy guess your not happy need your blanky

  • Rich

    This is a step in the right direction, but not true reform. Private sector defined benefit pensions dont exist anymore, and until the public sector converts to a defined contribution style benefit plan, there will still be many who will manipulate the system to be overcompensated in their retirement.

    • johan

      And because private sector define benefits don’t exist anymore, most people can not even think of retirement. The end result is the old people are not leaving their jobs to make room for the younger ones. They just work until they die.

  • Reality Check - They all lie.

    Like riding in Helicopters to your sons baseball game?????????????

    • Maegi

      I can’t help but notice the whole brew haha over the helicopter rides corresponds with his announcement of certain things he would veto when a lot of SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS weren’t happy with something else he announced he was going to do or not do. Seemed more vindictive than anything else particularly when it was mentioned the choppers would be up there ANYWAY & he was not adding to the cost. I haven’t heard anyone mention the additional cost of security for the governor considering he’s got so many people who are EXTREMELY unhappy with how he’s running things. I would think he would also be safer due to his popularity right now.

  • wayne

    Welcome. To the private sector

  • Mike

    Suck it up, union parasites!

    • Diane

      Parasites? Really….I don’t think that is called for.

  • Nelson

    Ha Haaa!

    • Bob

      I feel the same way they always wanted to be paid like the private sector…now they have the same pay and benefits….welcome my friends

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