Tag Archive: Pensions

Marie Blistan – NJEA Vice President

At today’s rally in front of Senate President Sweeney’s office, NJEA Education Association Vice President Marie Blistan spoke to Blue Jersey about the organization’s campaign to pass a constitutional amendment requiring the state to meet its pension obligations.

Our Rocky Horror Budget Show

“It’s astounding. Time is fleeting.”  Gov. Christie submitted his budget in February. Then with about four months to reply, the legislature waited until the last moment and as of this morning has only provided an outline of its response. The fact that legislators might have wanted to wait for the Supreme Court ruling on Pen/Ben is irrelevant as what they have proposed includes the Pen/Ben contributions that would have been in the budget regardless. The plan is to approve the budget in committees today. (It will be broadcast on the legislative website starting at about 10:00 am.) There will be voting on Thursday, and then the package will be delivered a few hundred feet away to the governor’s office.

“Madness takes its toll.” The legislature has made line item increases and decreases in the budget, but people who depend on funding know little about what the they are, and there is no time left for public comment. We do know that more than 2,000 contacts were made between registered lobbyists and state officials that are influencing the 2016 budget talks.

“Let’s do the Time Warp: It’s just a jump to the left.” That’s where we are now with the legislature’s proposal.

“And then a step to the right.” That will come from Christie. And then the dance ends. There is no more “jump to the left.”

“Not for very much longer.” It will all be over by next Tuesday.

“I’ve got to keep control.” That’s Christie. And he will.

 –  From: Time WarpThe Rocky Horror Picture Show

Why Chris Christie Deserves the Nero Award

Cross posted from my blog at Epoch Times  

The Exxon Deal

Like many New Jersey residents, I was appalled to find out that  Gov. Chris Christie’s Administration interfered in the Exxon pollution lawsuit and prevented what would have been an incredible windfall for New Jersey, by cutting a secretive deal that would not even cover the costs of the gigantic cleanup that was at the heart of the $8.9 Billion court case.

So Many Questions

Did the Governor do it to pay back Exxon for donating half a million dollars to the Republican Governors Association which helped Christie, then head of the RGA?

Did he do it to bolster his boast in Iowa a week later that he spent the last five years dismantling the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection?

Did he do it to protect his claim to the Nero Award, an award I just invented for leaders so narcissistic that they basically fiddle while their state burns down financially, or gets poisoned by the Emperor’s friends?

Did he do it because he needs an enemy and if the Pension problem goes away because NJ just got enough of a windfall to pay for that, he won’t have a union to fight to make himself look better than Scott Walker?

Did he do it because of what Naomi Klein dubbed the Shock Doctrine? Would a large award have interfered with Christie bringing NJ to its knees so that we would blame any scapegoat he threw at us – teachers, cops, firefighters, or environmental regulations, and allow him to do anything that he promised would help us, like more tax cuts for donors to his presidential campaign?

Did the Governor, for short term and short-sighted gain only, settle at 3 cents on the dollar because he just wanted to avoid raising taxes so he could brag about that – the very same reason he soaked every commuter traveling across the GWB for tolls rather than raise taxes to fund our empty Transportation Trust Fund?

Did he do it just because it was other people’s money, and like he always orders the most expensive steak or chooses a five star hotel on someone else’s dime, or brings his entire family along when he gets a free trip somewhere on a private jet, or spends $82,000 on snacks at football games, he didn’t care.

Did he do it simply, like when he killed the ARC tunnel after years of planning by others, so he could raid that pile of money to plug holes in the budget? (I can’t help but think Christie, enamored of private jet travel, didn’t mind killing mass transit because East Coast City Dwellers who tend to vote Democrat appear to prefer trains to the pickup trucks of rural Iowa voters.)

Did he look at the short term settlement the same way he views the hard earned pennies saved by NJ state workers who dutifully paid parts of their salaries into the pension system – as a pile of money he can steal for other purposes at the very same time he insults those very same workers whose sweat he is profiting off of by handing over millions of fees to his hedge fund donors?

Did he do it because he loves pollution caused by the energy industry? NJ certainly won’t be able to clean up the mess Exxon left with the paltry settlement that Christie plans to raid for other purposes. After all, he had the law changed to allow said raid and the settlement includes other contaminated sites throughout the state.

Did he do it because offering prime publicly owned real estate like Liberty State Park to private interests can only be done if NJ is short on cash?

Did he do it just to appeal to the Republican base, like he did when turning down Federal matching funds for women’s health care? Or to appeal to his donors?

Or was it all of the above?

I am starting to see a pattern here, and I don’t like it.

More below:

Where is Our Apology Governor Christie??

It has been a banner week for the man-who-would-be-president here in New Jersey. This week Governor Christie raised the art of spin to new heights by suggesting the abysmal polling numbers in New Jersey reflect our desire he remain our Governor rather than leave us for higher office. He redefined poor judgement by delivering a profanity laced speech at the Legislative Correspondence evening. And he revealed his delusional tendencies by demanding an apology from the press corps for making him seem guilty for Bridgegate.

Well Governor Christie, I am writing to say that I demand an apology from you. The list of reasons is long, so I will highlight the obvious reasons that you owe me and the people of New Jersey a lot of apologies.

First, for lying, breaking your promise, and not honoring the contract you signed on state pension benefits. You ran for office on the promise you would not touch state pensions. Then you touched them with a contract that required the state make payments in exchange for increased contributions from the state workers. They paid.

Is the NJ pension crisis Christie’s Waterloo?

Cross-posted with Marie Corfield. Promoted by Rosi.

It’s the 15th of the month, and once again, along with thousands of other public employees across the state, I made my legally-required pension payment. How about you, Gov. Christie? No? I didn’t think so.

If you live in NJ, you’d have to be living under a rock to not know about the pension battle raging in Trenton. And if you’re reading this, you also know that this debacle is decades old with Democratic and Republican governors being equal opportunity offenders as one after another raided the once-flush fund to plug budget holes and prop up their pet projects. (Bonus points for alliteration!)

So, what can public employees do to fix this mess? Nothing. We didn’t cause it and we can’t cure it. The only thing we can and should do is demand nothing less than full funding of the pension system as required by the law Gov. Christie touts as his signature, bipartisan ‘reform’. Because while he was busy cutting deals with certain Democrats to ‘fix’ this fiasco (translation: public employees work more, pay more and get less in return while the super wealthy and corporations get tax breaks) he was also doing this-with the blessings of the NJ Democratic Party Machine and GOP legislators who have been too afraid to stand up to him:

Hetty Rosenstein: We will fight you to our very last breath.

“It takes a special kind of carelessness and cruelty to be willing to burn down the American dream that my father worked so hard to achieve.”

From today’s pension rally in Trenton, CWA Organizing Director Hetty Rosenstein tells the story of her father – immigrant as an infant, WWII Marine veteran of the Marines, who went to college on the G.I. Bill and became a medical librarian who raised 4 kids on a public worker’s salary, enough to get a home. She tells the story of what he told his kids when he woke up in the middle of the night unable to feel his legs, and what he told his family as the ambulance came.