Christie Says New Pension Reform Plan Coming

Back in 2011, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed into law a pension reform measure designed to eventually fix the funding status of the state’s ailing pension funds.

A big part of that law was ensuring that the state gradually began making bigger annual payments to the System. But that part of the plan hasn’t worked out, as Christie decided this year to take the funds meant for the pension system and allocate them toward balancing the budget—a balanced budget is mandated by the New Jersey constitution.

The move was highly publicized and highly scrutinized. But Christie now says he is drawing up a new proposal for pension reform in New Jersey, and he is putting on a series of town hall meetings to introduce the plan. From NJ Advance Media:

Gov. Chris Christie came to the Jersey Shore today to kick off his “no pain, no gain” summer tour to introduce a pension reform proposal, but details of a plan were scant.

The governor promised to unveil a proposal by the end of the summer to tackle the state’s economic woes, promising that unless the Democratic-controlled state Legislature enact reforms, New Jersey is headed toward bankruptcy.

“We have to pare back benefits, that’s what we have to do,” Christie declared in Long Beach.

“You cannot raise taxes enough in New Jersey to pay for the pension hole that’s been dug over the period of time that these exorbitant benefits that have been promised to people,” he said. “No on in public office, believe me, myself included, wants to come out here and say ‘I have to pare back in public benefits.’”

Christie has said a specific plan is on its way — but it won’t be unveiled yet.

When pressed by a resident at the shore town hall to discuss his plan, Christie said his office is “looking at a bunch of different options right now,” but added it won’t be ready to be rolled out until the end of the summer.

“There are going to be some really difficult things,” he said. “There’s not a lot of places left to do things except to look at a whole different variety of ways to reduce benefits or to increase contributions by employees.”

Raising the retirement age again is also on the table for consideration, Christie said.

“But even then, the bottom line is that there will be a reduction in benefits, he said. “It’s the only way to do this.”

It appears that details won’t be disclosed for the time being. The one detail that Christie seemed comfortable revealing was that New Jersey pensioners will be looking at smaller benefits moving forward. But come September, it will be interesting to see what Christie’s proposal consists of.

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