4:15 pm: The hearing ended. There will be no decision today.
How do you think the judge will rule?
The battle lines are drawn today in court in a collective action for unpaid contributions owed to the state retirement systems. Plaintiffs seek to “enforce the State’s law and obligation to remit statutorily mandated unfunded accrued liability contributions.” Oral arguments were scheduled to commence at 10:00am.
Last year Judge Jacobson ruled at the end of the fiscal year that due to exigent circumstances (a revenue shortfall) Christie would be allowed to reduce his payment into the retirement system from $1.58 billion to $ 697 million. The hearing today focuses on Christie’s plan this year to pay only $681 million of the approximate total due of $2.25 billion. In allowing Christie to pay less than the full amount last year, the judge also found that workers were contractually entitled to full pension payments under the 2011 law enacted by the legislature and governor.
Today the judge might rule that this year the full amount is due or she might accept the governor’s argument that there are insufficient funds in the treasury to make a full payment. Legislators proposed a plan of revenue enhancement that would allow a full payment which Christie resisted. He has delayed announcing any solution to the problem and referred the matter to a commission which has yet to issue recommendations.
Plaintiffs include State Trooper organizations, CWA, AFL-CIO, NJEA, Firefighters, NJ Principals, and Probation Association, represented by their attorneys Leon Savetsky, Michael Bukowski, Leon Sokol and some eleven others. The Defendants are the State of New Jersey, Governor Christie and Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff represented by Jean Reilly and Robert Lougy from the office of the attorney general. The Judge is Mary C. Jacobson of the Superior Court, Mercer County.