Tag archive for Chris Christie

Health care + pensions equal insolvent NJ

New Jersey has gotten a lot of publicity lately because Chris Christie has balked at meeting the state’s extraordinary pension burden, arguing that further reform of the system is necessary. But as a recent NJ report makes clear, Jersey really has a problem of expensive health care for workers and retirees on top of bulging pension debts, which have raised the cost of employee benefits in NJ well above the norm for states. The reason Jersey isn’t paying all of its benefit costs is because it couldn’t possibly afford to…

Bad pension ideas migrate to desperate NJ

hevesi6n-2-webFor two decades NJ has been a repository of some of the worst government pension practices in nation. Now in a desperate attempt to find answers to its huge pension problems, policy makers seem willing to consider bad ideas from elsewhere, perhaps reflecting how little the state understands about how it got into its mess in the first place. The latest notion is that neighboring NY managed to avoid similar problems thanks to its comptroller’s office, which somehow kept the state out of pension trouble. Ha!

Has Cuomo split the labor movement?

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, is coasting to reelection with only partial support from organized labor. While many private unions remain in his corner, the state’s major government unions are either declining to support Cuomo’s bid for a second term or have endorsed …

Shouldn’t New Jersey be thinking about taking over Atlantic City?

One of the most under-appreciated causes for municipal fiscal distress is state officials’ deep reluctance to get involved. As a legal matter, nothing’s stopping them, but governors and legislatures see little in it for themselves in taking over a distressed city. They put off intervening …

Bloomberg’s cheap shot at Christie on pensions

I generally try to remain agnostic about whether the media politically lean one way or another, and whether the press has it out for certain politicians or not. Still, a piece that ran on Bloomberg today entitled “Pension Promise Broken by Christie Affirmed Across U.S.” is so misleading that I assume the reporter who wrote it either understands little about what states and municipalities are (and aren’t) doing about pensions,or simply wanted to publish a cheap shot at Christie, who deserves criticism but is hardly alone in coming up short…

Jersey pension system beyond saving at any reasonable cost

For three years now PSI has been warning that New Jersey had neglected its government employee pension system for so long that the state’s 2010 and 2011 reforms were inadequate to save the system. At some point we said (numerous times) the state would have to admit it could not possibly keep to the refunding schedule it had set for itself. Yesterday Gov. Christie declared as much…

Gov’t retirees flee high-tax NJ with their pension dollars

Municipalities in NJ finance their budgets largely through property taxes. The steepest cost, by far, on those budgets is employee get-out-of-towncompensation, which makes up about three-quarters of school district expenditures, for instance. High compensation costs are one reason why NJ has among the highest property taxes in the nation–so high that retirees often complain they can’t afford to continue living in their homes after they stop working. Apparently, that’s true of government employees in NJ, too…

Watch as pensions, health care, debt gobble up NJ taxes

The fiscal future of states and cities that have neglected their pension systems and bolstered their budgets with debt gimmicks is on view in New Jersey, crowd out njwhere Gov. Chris Christie announced yesterday that rising pension, health care and debt service costs will eat up 94 percent of the increase in tax collections the state is projecting. At the same time the Washington Post reminds us what a city in the same predicament, San Jose, looks like as it cuts services and raises taxes thanks to its pension liabilities…

The good news about Jersey’s pension reform was also the bad news

When New Jersey’s legislature passed pension reform legislation several years ago it did something few other states and cities did, which is to require itself to make its annual pension contributions instead of skipping them, as the state had done for years. But Jersey’s pension debt was so large that this worthwhile reform was likely to come back and bite the state squarely in its…

State tax cutting very much a GOP thing

A new analysis by the American Legislative Exchange Council finds that 18 states cut taxes this year. Of that group, 16 are led by Republican governors.maps1

The tax most commonly cut, the study found, was the personal income levy, sliced by one-quarter of the states. North Carolina led the way with the boldest tax cuts in the form of sweeping reforms to their entire system which included installing a modified flat income tax, lowering the corporate tax rate, and broadening the sales tax…