By Cleve Bryan
TRENTON, NJ (CBS) –– Governor Chris Christie laid out a plan to fix a $807M budget hole by reducing payments this year and next year to the state pension fund by a total of $2.5B.
Christie says he will use an executive order to reduce a payment due by July 1st from around $1.6B to $691M. He plans to reduce the payment earmarked in the upcoming budget for fiscal year 2015 from $2.25B to $681M.
Christie explained the amounts will cover current costs to the pension system but not help whittle down the larger $52B in unfunded future obligations.
“Today I’m going to pledge to make the payments that we need to make to not dig the hole any deeper but in a time when we’re confronted with this type of challenge I cannot also pay for all the sins of my predecessors,” says Christie.
Democrats, who will fight him over the proposal for next year’s budget, condemned his action.
“Abandoning pension payments only make things worse down the road, and that’s unfair to taxpayers who rightly deserve and expect better from someone who vowed to fix the state,” said NJ Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto in a statement.