By Cleve Bryan
TRENTON, N.J., (CBS) — Governor Chris Christie’s decision to cut pension fund payments to balance the budget received sharp criticism Wednesday by the Assembly budget committee.
“I am the Governor of this state, the buck stops with me and I, Chris Christie, the Governor of this great state, am responsible and that’s what we’re all looking to hear, that’s what we all want to hear,” said Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Gary Schaer (D).
New Jersey’s State Treasurer received the brunt of the tongue lashings appearing before the committee to give details of the Governor’s budget plan. He had strong words for supporters of raising taxes on the rich to fix the state’s finances.
“We don’t have a revenue problem in this state, we are a high tax, high spending state and have been for quite some time,” Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff said.
Outside the Capitol complex two of New Jersey’s largest unions for public workers the NJEA and CWA announced plans to sue the Governor’s office if he doesn’t make the full pension payments agreed to under the pension reform law the governor signed in 2011.
“You don’t make laws to break them two years later, nobody is above the law and unfortunately if you have to go to court to prove that then that’s what you have to do,” NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer said.
At an afternoon news conference to talk about Supreme Court nominations, Governor Christie said he’s not nervous about lawsuits or criticism.
“And I know the CWA and the NJEA want to be able to promise their members everything, but they pay for none of it, the union leaders pay for none of it,” Christie said.
Christie is pushing for further reform to benefits for public workers.