Governor Chris Christie’s Budget Message 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

NJN News provides complete live coverage of Governor Chris Christie’s Budget Message to a joint session of the New Jersey State Legislature in Trenton. NJN News Senior Anchor Jim Hooker hosts the program live from NJN’s Trenton Studios with Senior Political Correspondent Michael Aron at the State House.

Governor Christie presents his plan for closing a state budget deficit estimated to be $10 billion next fiscal year. The Budget Message is followed by the legislative response. Analysis is provided by Ben Dworkin, Director of Rider University Rebovich Institute of Politics; Roger Bodman, Republican political analyst, and Julie Roginsky, Democratic political strategist.

Budget Address Sends A Message of the “New Normal”
Reaction to the Governor’s Budget Address
Political Analysts Q & A on Governor Christie’s Budget
Special Interest Groups React to Governor’s Budget

Funding for this special NJN public affairs program is provided by Fuel Merchants Association of New Jersey, PSE&G, Verizon, New Jersey Education Association, Delta Dental Plan of New Jersey, The Horizon Foundation of New Jersey, New Jersey Association of Realtors, Wells Fargo, New Jersey Manufacturers, and Johnson & Johnson.

71 Responses to Governor Chris Christie’s Budget Message 2011

  1. Paul and Peg Ugolick says:

    When will Trenton stop funding Abbot School districts without expecting a ROI indicative of the billions these districts receive?. The Abbot school districts have a societal problem because 75% of all minority households in these school districts are headed by single mothers. How can sending schools in those districts more and more money be presented as a wise use of taxpayers dollars. Sending money to schools in those districts does not and cannot address a mindset that ths style of living will produce anything but what it produces, failure.

    Taking funding from the districts who pay the most and sending it to those districts who pay little or nothing is insanity. While I recognize that Trenton cannot change the faulty, failing mindset of these populations, I have to ask how can this distribution of taxpayers dollars be allowed to continue?

    Thank you for listening.

    • ATeacher says:

      I take offense at citizens who by virtue of their own words, reveal their lack of intelligence. There are no more A-B-B-0-T-T, two T’s if you please, districts. Their constitutional validity was struck down several years ago. Sending money to districts that are headed by single mothers in Camden or Newark, is no different than stipend allowances for free lunches or After Care programs, based on income, to a female divorcee in Cherry Hill or Voorhees where I live. What is meant by “these populations”? Is that code speak? Please be brave enough to say exactly what you mean and stop hiding behind stupid rhetoric. You don’t give a d—n about what is happening in those districts!! What do you suppose we do allow these people to fall by the wayside? Crime spreads to the suburbs from “these populations”! Would you like to pay to house all of these failures in the jail house? The cost of an inmate is about $30,000 per year. Help now or pay over and over again. The money you say is being sent to these communities sometimes comes from the people in those communities who also are taxpayers and property owners(no matter what the value). Let’s help the, according to your statistics, other 25% of married households that want the best for their children, just like you do. Circumstances, divorce, layoffs, drug addiction(even prescription), corporate restructuring and many other things that are beyond one’s control can land any one of us in “those people’s” condition. The housing market is a bust what did those people do? Most of those people are middle class Americans caught in a bad circumstance through bad decisions. What are we going to do about government bail outs, I guess we could have used that money to save you a few dollars huh???

      • K.M.H. says:

        Teacher, Thank you for your reply to the “those people” comment. I couldn’t even find the words to respond to this level of ignorance. It’s so very sad to know that there are people among us who feel this way about our fellow New Jerseyan’s who are struggling. It is ignorance that causes one to pronounce failure over whole communities just because of the actions of some. They need to realize that most families struggles are not due to having a single parent home. It’s called “hard times!” Something I assume has never darkened their doorstep. It is my prayer that people who carry this frame of mind would be over-come with compassion for those who are truly just down on their luck. People in poor communities are not hopeless nobodies without dreams and visions. So many are hard woking, tax payers just like those in more prosperous communities and YES they deserve help. (just as they would if they happened to fall on hard times.they should realize that hard times does not discriminate.)

      • Response to AT Teacher says:

        AT Teacher. It is about time that corporate restructuring happens to the antiquated broken down school system that ranks us at the bottom of the civilized world. I don’t care how many Ts are in ABBOTT, the supreme court has required that a disproportionate amount of money be spent in those districts to this day.

        Wake up and smell the coffee. You are holding onto a system that is broke and because you are a part of it, you refuse to take off the blinders. I can’t wait for the day that a teacher has to compete for his/her position every year….. just like the rest of the single parents in this world do.

        Distance learning, online learning, teacher accountability, student accountability, parent accountability all need to be incorporated in a new system that promotes competition. THATS RIGHT I SAID IT …. COMPETITION. No more little leagues with no winners and losers. We need to teach our kids early and often that there are winners and there are losers in this world, and unlike the union mentality, it is not about how long you have been in the system that translates to a paycheck ITS HOW GOOD YOU ARE that makes your paycheck!!!

    • TAX PAYEEEER JUST LIKE YOU says:

      Trenton is not the only city in New Jersey so why always keep pointing fingers at Trenton. Abbot program is needed for people that cant afford child care especially if the parent is a single parent. Trenton school district needs help. I am a tax payer just like you and I want for it to be used in the community I live in.

    • a private university student says:

      Please note that “these people” is such a stereotypical language for such an educated person as yourself that I feel as though you need to refrain from speaking from now on.

      First, there are no more Abbott school districts just lower income districts … Gov Christie even referred to them as the formerly know as … not the other way around!!!

      Charter schools are around not abbott schools.

      Get the facts before you start speaking…

      Thanks so much and have a glorious day!

  2. Uwe Bartsch says:

    christie is the first govoner that i know of who talked about the benefits the public workers are getting i can’t believe it if he keeps this up we will have an all republican legislature in 2012 and i am not a republican i think this guy is great

    • jim f says:

      you most not have a job or you stop getting big money couple years back when your job was paying you good for you to not like state workers.
      Its people like you that lose your job and then you come to state workers you know and ask them is there anything in the state for me.
      get a life better because this gov will be out soon.
      and if you don’t like state workers or unions then go live in china.

      • kandice says:

        How long will we wait until we get him out of office? We cannot take another 2 years of this bully. Awesome “China” comment. I am at a lost that New Jersians/Americans can’t see through this scape goating. Without unions, this country would be in sad shape. The gap between the wealthy and poor is just going to get bigger. Obama should soon step in and straighten out Winsconsin, Ohio, and Jersey before too much damage is done to the working class of these states.

    • teacher says:

      This guy is great? No one gave two cents about our pay or benefits before the economic crisis. This governor gave you and people like you someone to blame. We’ve made and increased payments i nto our pension system for the past sixteen years. The state has not done the same as is required by law. Now the guy is going to hold seniors and homeowners hostage if his budget and cuts are not implemented? You think this guy is great? Wait until you don’t get your rebate.

      • befair says:

        Cut on teacher=cut on your children’s education=cut your property value=cut on everyone live in NJ,
        so obiviously, your teacher’s union should change, so you can get support from other perple in NJ.

    • frank millin says:

      oh yea he will be out real quick.mabye he will get a job as a bouncer in a MAFIA owned bar.it’s the only bar he belongs in.

  3. St Dominic says:

    lets not forget the public vs private sector debate. yes public sector have great health benefits and pensions, but they had no choice in this. Private sector receives year end bonus, stock options, matching 401K’s, and perhaps a holiday party with gifts! Public sector employees do not have theses options and even when given a fruit basket must donate that to charity along with a letter copeid to the giver!

    • djhagan says:

      Why not just add another part of government with charter schools? Where does the noney come from for charter schools, the same as public schools. However, Christie did not want the cap on the administration of charter schools just public, How exactly is this fiscally responsible? If New Jersey is in such terrible shape fiscally why would you double the property tax rebate? If the cost of health benefits is such a problem why not take on the insurance companies who set the premiums? How much
      Governor Christie pay for Health insurance or Pension contributions? Who has been paying for Governor Christie’s traveling throughout the country. When he was a prosecutor the tax payers paid the tab of $500.00 per night for his Hotel, is that fiscally responsible? Not in my world

      • kandice says:

        Another great observation and yet the media doesn’t report any of this info-Amazing! I am sure “the people” have spent a great deal of money feeding this guy, too : )

      • AMC says:

        Governor Christie is just another ignorant bag of wind, hypocrit & teller of untruths:

        1.) The “pension crisis” which he frames as being caused by the “greedy, fat cat” unions, especially teachers’ unions…dates back to the late 90’s with Republican Governor Christine Whitman. In order to pay for her campaign commitment to reduce taxes, she raided the then ‘pension fund surplus’ but never repaid the fund for the sum she ‘borrowed’. Two years’ later, State Republicans approved a crazy 9% pension increase. Throughout the 90’s and up until Republican Whitman, NJ had a pension fund surplus!

        2.) Christie talks about “sacrifices for all”..except for his own administration and the wealthy, who he holds exempt from sacrifice just like the other new Republican governors:

        – In 2009, Corzine’s administration salary tab was $7M. Christie’s 2010 admin salary tab was almost $9M and twice as many staff now earn over $100,000 – while he’s asking for cuts, he’s growing the size & cost of his own administration by $2M!

        – He refused to renew NJ’s tax on millionaires and ask the wealthy to reduce their milllions in income, which would have generated $800M and they could have afforded it. But he’s not refusing to ask NJ’s workers and teachers to reduce their income, no…he’s imposing reductions and waging war with them.

        – You’re so right – not a word from Christie about drug & insurance companies’ exploitation and gaming of US health care system (further enabled by Republican’s 2003 Medicare Rx Drug Moderniation Act, which gave them $140B in subsidies & opened the floodgates for spiraling cost of drugs, insurance & health services for taxpayers…causing record # of middle-class health cost-based bankruptcies)

        3) Most disturbing is Christie’s ignorant, loud-mouthed disrespectful war on NJ’s public teachers. The current average salary for NJ’s college-educated teachers is not much more than the national average for first-year college graduates or executive secretaries. On the one hand, President Obama has rightly called for more respect for US teachers as the “guardians of US future”..we entrust our children, the future of US industry & global competitiveness, to the nation’s teachers..so Obama wants to make education a top priority respected career as it is in high-achieving countries, attract top graduating talent, invest in education across-the-board, improve US’ lagging performance over last decade on literacy, science & math, create a worker force skilled in modern technology, etc etc.

        How starkly Obama’s smart forward-thinking strategy for our nation contrasts with GOP Big Bully Christie’s regressive thinking & constant public denigrating of public education and demonizing of teachers – – entrust them with NJ’s most precious asset, our kids, then insult them and treat them like the lowest of the low. Accuse them of being thieves, pit public teachers against private, and scheme to pay them as little as possible, while also slashing aid to NJ education generally (oh yes, AND potentially cause NJ to lose $400M in Fed funds from Obama’s Race to Top contest with the states). Christie sends his 4 kids to Catholic school, so why should he care about public edu?

        Christie is NOT NJ’s savior, quite the opposite, as time will tell. Just as Goldman Sach’s report this week detailed how $61B of partisan-motivated budget cuts approved by House Republicans would hurt US economy and reduce GDP growth in 2011 by 2% (growth in 2010 was 2.8% – so a 2% reduction would be disastrous & insane), Christie’s short-sighted ‘political’ approach to governing will hurt NJ’s economy and penalize NJ’s middle-class.

        And to think that Republican activists are promoting Christie for President!

    • Patty says:

      I think its all very interesting. But, as the public worker hates to hear private sector folks list all of their benefits, you can’t ‘suppose’ all private sector workers get those things you list. My smaller sized company does not match 401k, does not hand out bonuses, raises may or may not happen, no stock options, no Gifts. Oh, and our health care costs went up 60% last year. #grassnotgreener.

    • St Dominic Response says:

      YOUR KIDDING RIGHT!!!!! I’ll donate a fruit basket a day to trade my paultry year end bonus, contribution to health insurance, 401K (guaranteed “contribution”) for a fully paid health insurance and a pension (guaranteed distribution).

    • Stephanie Sendaula says:

      I would like to educate you. The majority of private sector employees don’t have stock options, 401k plans, bonuses, etc. They receive just a paycheck and contibute 25% to their health insurance.

  4. Claude Robinson says:

    I truly hope, that you will do something to reduce property taxes. I have been fighting my budget for several years. Being retired, living on a fixed income, it has been rough. I have almost 35.00 a week for food, it is a good thing that I live alone.

    If my property taxes are increased, again this year, I will forced to sell my home and leave New Jersey. Don’t know where I will go, but , what else can I do.

    • p johnson says:

      When are you all going to come out of the fog and realize your property taxes are NEVER going to come down? I dont know where you live but I can tell you the “pie” on my tax bill shows a small portion goes to my municipal government, a small portion goes to my county government and more than half goes to the schools. Just looking at that tells me you can lay off every cop in my town and my taxes are going down about 100 bucks. Not for nothing…….I’ll pay for that. But when more than half of my taxes go to schools which have as many social workers and mental health professionals as they do teachers, I have a problem with that. Schools have become a black hole for wasted money. Not on teachers salaries, but on bureaucacy, social services and unnecessary programs. Strip it down to teachers and education and Im thinking that bill will go down a tad.

  5. Diane Van Dyke says:

    Here we go again!

  6. Terence Conaty says:

    What happens went he cut the service and raise the taxes when the Local authorities have to balance the budget and reflex the taxes incease

    • Dear Terence says:

      Thats when private companies come and “compete” for the business. What a cancept. Your tax bill goes down because the town no longer provides trash service (at prevailing wage) and then BFI, Waste Management, and a slew of others actually compete for your hard earned $$. It used to be this way 30 years ago. I remember we had a house in a town that did this and a summer house in a town that provided the trash. The private companies NEVER left a piece of garbage anywhere. The service provided by the town…. if animals got into the trash …. the trash would be left all over the road.

      Thats called COMPETITION!!!!!!!!!

  7. BigJerseyEd says:

    Public vs. private sector

    I work in a section of the government that includes state workers and outside hired employees (consultants). My job is to review the consultant invoices. The consultant’s pay rate is the same or more as the equivalent state worker. Then the consultant firm is paid the consultant’s benefits, the “administrative” handling, transportation costs, etc. Then the consultant company receives their profit, overhead, and misc fees. I’ve reviewed invoices that had a total of 175% total mark-up above and beyond the consultant employee’s pay rate.

    Somebody has to do the work. It is a matter of who is going to do it, which government pot it comes from, and who benefits. Keep in mind that consultant invoices have a lot less restrictions on the funding source and generally limitless ceiling. And the consultant bids are not subject to low bidding, but who knows whom. In the end, I would not be suprised if the consultants cost the State more. Its just the admistrators can shuffle and hide the funding sources more easily.

    • Dear Big Ed says:

      Ed, I have no doubt that you are correct. But what about those services that many companies can compete for? There are professional services that do not have to have competitive bids and that is usually where problems occur.

  8. jim f says:

    Everyone better remember that alot of state workers give to alot of charitys in this state every year. We take money out of are pay check, for alot of diffnert charitys so stop putting down state workers because oneday all state workers are going to stop giving to the charitys and then everyone will see what happens.
    This problem is called charitys and every year we get a booklet and the Gov ask state workers to give every year. Its shocking people in NJ forget. Not all state workers get paid good money. I make 46,000.00 before taxes. You try to live on that after taxes in this state.
    So all Non-state workers get a life or move to china, slave labors

    • Dear Jim says:

      Thats $46K before taxes …… oh yeah free health insurance and pension. Lets see, my 53k before taxes, health insurance, and 401 contribution does not fare as well as yours….. wanna switch????

      • Joan says:

        Where do you get the notion that we get “free benefits”? Do you live in Fantasy Land? I am a state worker and I pay for health and dental benefits. The amount designated for eye care is negligible. As a Trenton City resident, I pay all the taxes that every New Jerseyan pays. As far as pension goes, I contribute $200 a month to the fund. We also contribute to social security the same as everyone else. I guarantee you that our pay scale is lower than private business. If you want to blame anyone, do your history and go back 20 or so years ago when all of our jobs were sent to other countries (out-sourcing) so that the big companies could make more money. I grew up in Trenton when there were so many places to work, it was unreal. Trenton was a good, safe city then. But everybody “booked” and left. We had Lenox, Lamberton China, Roebling’s, American Bridge, American Steel, Stokely’s, pottery factories, Switlik Parachute Co., printing places, General Motors, General Electric, the Naval Air Turbine Testing plant, Mercer Paper Tube, just to name a “few”. NOBODY wanted to work for the State or City or County, the pay was to low. Now that those jobs are gone, you all descend on us like locusts. Don’t talk to me about switching…

    • kandice says:

      I hear you. I am in my 11th year of teaching, making 50 thousand before taxes, pension, healthcare, and I need to work a 2nd job as a bartender. I don’t know many teachers who don’t work 2nd jobs or take on additional school contracts as coaches or advisors. We give to numerous charities supported by the United Way and I am afraid these contributions will end b/c the money just won’t be there in our checks to give. I hope the people of New Jersey wise up to this bullying dictator and see things as they really are.

  9. Mikki43 says:

    So how many of the people complaining about public worker pensions contribute to a pension plan (other than Social Security)? As a public worker, I’ve paid 5% of my salary each year into the pension plan – for 25 years. For me, that’s nearly $500/month right now. So please stop thinking of public workers as bunch of slouchers paying nothing and getting everything. We’ve paid into this pension system and are entitled to the pension we were promised when we made our payments out of every paycheck.

    • Jane says:

      Don’t state workers pay taxes?

      State workers are paying for their health care – are teachers?

      Since when does a senior making $150,000/year need a property tax rebate?? I make less then that yet don’t qualify for a property tax rebate. and I am still paying into all the systems.

      Feds pay more into healthcare but their wage stages are higher than state employee steps for comparable jobs. Take a look.

      • Denise Pearlman says:

        I agree we make more than $75,000 and now have to pay 30% of our benefits as oppose to that 1.5% of the pay which just changed last year now were getting hit both ways….does this apply to the teachers? i hope so because he loses every battle with them, lol

    • BayonneFrank says:

      Mikki,
      I, like a number of private employees, don’t get a pension. I get to contribute to a 401K and get an employee conribution. When I retire, I will not see 70% of my wage as a pension. I will not receive subsidized healthcare either. No one is saying that state workers are slouchers. In fact I know a good number of them who are very hard dedicated workers. We are just saying that the benefits are too lucrative for the times.

      • Pat Salem says:

        Bayonne Frank,
        I am a state worker and I won’t see 70% of my wages when I retire. Let me know what department does that so I can ask for a transfer. If you work 25 years it is less than half of your wages. My children both work in the private sector one a craftsman and one a white collar and they both make more than me and have better benefits. State workers pay for their dental benefits and have minimal eye glass as opposed to many in private industry.

      • kandice says:

        LUCRATIVE???? You need to get a clue because no one is living large as a retired public teacher!

    • davkid says:

      I’m a state worker and I pay 8.5% we all should pay the same amount,I have 13 yrs as a state employee ,I gave up alot ,I took a pay cut to have it save on a retirement, Christie needs to put the states share into the pension system, THE STATE BARROWED THE MONEY NOW PUT IT BACK…..

  10. HEATHER says:

    Stop letting individuals claim children supported by the government, this alone will save tax payers a bundle. No one seems to care about this issue at all. Tax refunds are paid by tax payers as well.

  11. exgci says:

    Oh yeah team, yeah team, what a crock. WHERE ARE THE JOBS?

  12. Jamie says:

    Enjoy the broadcast of the Governor’s speech because it could be the last one ever to appear on NJN. It’s being cut, remember?
    Businesses and the rich get their taxes cut in NJ. The majority of ordinary citizens will lose public services of all sorts. They will get more pollution and more sprawl. Environmental protection is cut 10%. Towns lose the aid that encourages them to preserve open space. The state will shift more of the burden of College onto young people and their parents.
    Yet people are angry at the state’s workers. Instead of fighting to restore the rights of those in the private sector, who have lost their good wages and benefits, they want state workers to give up collective bargaining. Ordinary citizens can barely afford healthcare, but they reject the only solution that every other industrialized society has had for decades: a single-payer system. Instead, they want to reduce state workers healthcare.
    The school reform is basically privitization – more money to ever less accountable charter schools. Schools that choose whom to serve and leave the hard cases to the public schools, where teachers will be fired if the kids don’t perform.
    Everyone in NJ pleads poverty, but they vote the interests of the richest few percent over and over again. If you believe that Chris Christie has the interests of anyone besides those few in mind, fine. But his “reforms” are their agenda, barely disguised under a veneer of concern for “the people.”
    Christie is the point man for the GOP’s class war that’s driving inequality in this country to record levels.

    • kandice says:

      Amen!

    • befair says:

      Agree.
      Further, the American is not going forward, it is going back. People fights many years to get their right
      of equal education, civil rights, retirement, union, …., now the Republic are leading us back. All people need to realize this, not only state employees, but everyone. You against state worker union or teacher’s union, because YOU DON’T HAVE ONE, EVEN YOU HAVE THE RIGHT. You complain you don’t have the benefits while the union members have, YOU SHOULD GET YOUR OWN UNION AND FIGHT FOR YOUR BENEFIT, NOT TAKE OTHERS DOWN.

  13. Denise Pearlman says:

    What property tax relief???? take 30% for medical and give double home stead rebate to households under $75,000 why not open the requirements to $150-175,000 and give everyone a rebate instead of lower middle class a lot of people are going to get hit twice by this. Making more and more charter school will eventually eliminate and close public schools. Christie is jumping in head first…

  14. Donna T says:

    Let me see if I have this right. If I, as a state worker, pay more for my health insurance and my pension, you will in turn fund schools, lower taxes and make an immediate $5 mil payment into the pension system.???? I thought NJ hadn’t paid into the pension sytem the money they owed because we were BROKE!!! where is this 5 million coming from?? And aren’t you required by law to pay it anyway. Why is it dependent on me?? An another thing, why do senior citizens and disabled people get to make $150K a year and receive a tax credit, but able bodied people can only make 75K? The term “the rest of us paying for the previledge few” really irks me. Perhaps you are unaware that I am a tax payer as well. I also work for my salary. No one is giving me anything for free. And about those wonderful health benefits we receive – I have had several doctors not accept my insurance because the state benefits do not pay them enough, so they drop us. One doctor told me they opted out of the state plann because it was like “Medicare”. This is what you want me to pay 30% of cost for??
    Under the “New Trenton”, my family of 4 who make slightly more than $75K will not be eligible for a property tax credit, although we worked just as hard to buy and maintain a home as anyone else in NJ. In addition, I will now be required to pay 30% of the cost of my health insurance and contribute much more to a pension plan in which I have no choice to be a part of – and which most likely will not be there when I am ready to retire. and I’M one of the PRIVLEGED FEW??? Let me be one of you please. I would love to cast stones without having any facts. It would be nice to blame someone else for the problems that a PRIVLEDGED FEW caused – but, it wasn’t the state workers…. Can you say scapgoats.

    • Erin says:

      Donna T, you said a mouthful!! I could not have put it better. I can not understand why Gov Christie started from day one with the attitude that State Employees are the enemy. What kind of employer goes at their workforce in this manner? He has the power of the media to get his message out that State Employees are the cause of everyone’s problem. That is really sick. Now, he hires an out of state lawfirm to attack our contract. What is this guy’s problem? He should realize that he can not run the State without a workforce. If a private employer went after their employees in this manner, they would have a massive lawsuit on their hands. We have been very cooperative, accepted a broken contract, deferred raises, furloughs all with the attitude that we are helping our state’s economy. We are not the enemy Mr. Christie. We are your co-workers!!! Stop attacking us and start using your creativity to solve the State’s problems. (PS look at the Department of Labor job openings recently? Well the only open promotional jobs are senior executive level, All Director and Assistant DIrectlor jobs.)

  15. Thomas Stephens says:

    The simple fact is that competent, qualified people are not going to become teachers. Attack the salaries, pensions, and benefits and you scare off college students who were thinking about a career in education. Christie’s policies are going to dramatically lessen the numbers of people who might consider a career as a teacher. Add in the fact that Christie purposefully belittles, slanders and demeans teachers every day of the week, it’s not entirely shocking. The overall quality of education in the state of New Jersey is going to suffer as the quality of the teachers goes down, and it will happen. I am astounded by the irony of his assertion that teachers don’t care when they’re the ones in the classroom trying to make a difference and he cuts the budget by over a billion dollars?

  16. Mark D says:

    This Gov is always talking about State employees paying more and more out of pocket. What does the Gov and all the politicians and Judges pay toward their benefits? 5 pension systems that I looked at pay the following towards their pensions: Police and Fire (PFRS) pays 8.5% of their salary, Teachers Union pays 5.5%, Public employees (PERS) pays 5.5%, State Police (SPRS) pays 7.5% and our wonderful Judiciary Staff who make all that money and pay into the Judiciary Pension System (JRS) pay a whopping 3% and they get the biggest percentage of their salary upon retirement. I work for 25 years paying into my pension and risking my safety and this Gov wants to reduce pensions and benefits. What about the Senator who works 4 years and gets a pension for life??? When the politicians start cleaning up their own house then come look at the average worker. Stop trying to clean up the financial mess that the Gov’s from Whitman forward have created with the paychecks of the average worker. You all have skipped payment after payment into the pension funds, “borrowing” money from healthy funds and now you cry the system is $46 billion underfunded!!! Well who underfunded them? Not the workers our check deductions never stopped coming out. When my bills are due I can’t skip a pension payment and still get credit for it. STOP using us as your scape goat as to why things are so bad. Look in the mirror first. When all said and done the politicians will all walk away with fat wallets and the daily worker stuggle on. You wonder why people retire, hit the highway and move out of this screwed up State. Thanks your NJ Gov’t for making this State so desirable to be in.

  17. Sarah says:

    I think it’s unbelievable how these governors are pitting the average working class American against each other. The transparency of their motives should be clear to everyone. Don’t be a sheep to their tactics because if they succeed in their master plan it will truly be the end of the middle class in America.

  18. Ralph S says:

    Get Real! If you don’t think the Gov has a few of his buddies waiting in the wings to grab consultant contracts after the state work force is depleted you need to wake up. I wonder where his money is invested? I wonder if he is going to get a school voucher to send his kids to private school. Oh, that’s right they already go to private school. Gee.

  19. TG says:

    With all this talk about making cuts to help NJ get back on it’s feet I’ve heard nothing about cuts or changes to Governor Christies salary or that of his consituents. It’s always the middle income, hard working people that have to make the sacrifice. Is the coach for the State college giving back anything of his $2 million dollar salary? Are any of the representatives giving back any of their perks? I don’t think so. I am a retired local school district employee. I worked for 38 long, hard years and deserve the pension that I now have. While I can understand that times are different today any changes that have to be made to the retirement system should be made for those just entering the workforce or with less than 10 years in the system. At least they would know what their deal was when they take the job and have time to plan accordingly. You can’t take it from the people who are older, have the time vested in the system and have no time to make changes to their retirement plans.
    The bottom line is the pension system is not why NJ is broke. It’s broke because it’s been mismanaged by the elected officials for years. Why should I have to make up for their mistakes.

  20. Hank R says:

    !. HERE ARE SOME CONTRIBUTING FACTORS TO PUBLIC VS PRIVATE Conflict

    1 Industry (Industrial Parks((jobs), Corporate administration buildings were abandoned by major employers that provided job opporftunities for all ages in the last 30 years . WHY?
    2. Environmental laws 1970’s to 1990 were getting stricter with large fines .legal liability etc
    3. Plants and factories cut,Labor costs and relocated to more forgiving tax/environmental states and countries
    4.Taxes from the major companies(especially fortune 500) can be re-routed to foreign banks (
    5. Benefit packages and pensions that were in the private sector tragically vanished for middle management on down.
    6. The promise of further cost cutting by the present progress of automated services is becoming the business norm.( instead of human labor.)
    7. No jobs for college grads/ nor vocational training for non-college students to enter a job market (Also unsurpassed college loan debt)
    8 . Retail employment is not a great provider of income. The average number of workers on the floor working in a large store is 6-12
    9. China has seized production of goods from the rest of the world.
    10. Are we getting the picture!

  21. Beth says:

    Christie is a typical mean spirited Republican. He’s the reason I have changed party affiliation. He is a disgrace to the human race. He is getting more money for the few and telling the rest of us to go away.

  22. TD Off says:

    As a 34 year State career employee and now manager, I haven’t received a C.O.L.A. in the past five years. I unknowingly lost an opportunity to receive a merit pay level that I had earned. I was furloughed ten days last year, while many other State employees earned overtime. I have been paying towards my health benefits and pension without fail (or a voice, for that matter). I provide a home for my family of five, in a terrific township that will soon be passing along it’s share of lost State aid in the form of a tax increase. The very real threat of increased health care premiums and increased pension contribution will undoubtedly force me to retire earlier than I ever expected or desired. I’ll probably volunteer my time towards a worthy cause until I can leave our fine Garden State, my home. To all who have led us to this fortuitous moment, thank you.

  23. S.C says:

    All I have to say is that if you use public school funding for charter schools, MAKE SURE THOSE KIDS STAY THERE FOR A FULL YEAR AS THE PUBLIC PAID. we will see how effective those schools will be if they cannot get rid of those children who refuse to do the work, refuse to learn, refuse to take a standardized test….. LETS SEE IT>>>> PUT THAT INTO A LAW>>> ONCE STUDENT STARTS IN A CHARTER SCHOOL>>>> what’s fair is fair….refund if kicked out. I am all for it—– lets see how charter school teachers will perform and show public school teachers what they already know. we all would love to have perfect classes with no behavior issues. IT DOES NOT exist….. and one more thing to add: I guess this country is going back to the 1950’s where everyone became segragated…. I hear all this cultures are planning to open charter schools from Korean , chinese, hindu, african american, jewish, and catholic schools. GUESS WHAT? what happened to I HAVE A DREAM????? lets all read a poem and think before our actions create more diversity! Its a scary world and I am afraid for my children……. sad that this country is trying to become communist and yet we are suppose to be free….. SHOW me the freedom and reread that poem… I HAVE A DREAM>………..I am a mother, tax payer, property owner in Nj, and an educator….. I do not want to pay for children in charter schools or religious schools….. I live in America not in Europe or Asia or other parts of the world. Where are my rights as an American?

  24. S.C says:

    I am a proud american

  25. mother of 2 says:

    i am a mother 2 without health coverage for me and my 2 children. last years furlough days just put me in the poor house. the state of new jersey refuses to give me any type of assistance because of income. I am the working poor person of new jersey i work for the state of new jersey as a part time employee. the state refuses to give me full time for reasons unknown everybody is having their own problems with the budget but for me i have every problem. my list goes on and on So since the state of new jersey says i have so much money that makes me ineligible for any assistance including wic i filed bankrupt and now some of those medical bills will become everybody elses this is a cycle that is begun in my life and a few others and i will continue to uses the er as my doctors office until i get some form of help why not give me a full time position i have been employed by the state for 3yrs now how long am i supposed to wait till the hospital files bankrupt this whole budget thing is crazy i can’t afford no more cuts

  26. hankR says:

    Private sector vs Public ???

    1. A significant number of the industrial sector left town . (1970’s -1980’s environmental costs and liability ,taxes )
    2. Re-routing of corporate taxes to foriegn banks by major companies
    3. Migration of companies to select southern states , Asia and other regions
    4. Loss of of company Benefits and pensions in the 1990’s middle management employees and down
    5. Grads owe unsurpassed college debt, and retail jobs (most of the U.S.) provides inadequate income,t herefore ,students will minimally contribute to the tax base
    6 No vocational alternative for students in trades. You can make a large income in a trades
    think electricians , plumbers etc
    7. China has taken over production of goods (all countries affected)
    8. All across the U.S Large stores have a small work force.
    9 The increase in Automated services have funneled profit away from hiring people
    10 Get the picture

  27. johnhenry_roberts says:

    Thank you for telling the people of NJ the truth!!! We can’t can’t afford this. 70% of my property taxes goes to the school and over 50% of my state taxes and they want more. Enough!!! I want school choice, remembe it is about the best for the Kids not the union!

  28. chip says:

    once he finished tooting his own horn he actually made alot of sense in some areas…….however I wonder how much of the actual gains last year were due to a great year of returns on investments…….which, by the way were one of the main causes of the deficit to begin with due to years of bad investing with pensions…….yes ..cuts need to made……but don’t put the sole burden of the deficit on public employees…..look in mirror?????

  29. no name says:

    let me start by saying that not all state workers did their part on cutting back. i heard the speech and got my hands on the list of state departments that need to cut back. I feel that these other departments need to step up and cut back and work with fewer people like the rest of us do. the other thing is that i feel that the teachers need to stop all this complaining about the governor coming after them as I have never seen any of them put into their health care, pension and for the teachers who should not be teaching get their tenures. all those days in Atlantic City on taxpayers money should take place on the weekend and they should pay for it themselves. I go to schools for my job and I pay out of my pockets and not have taxpayers pay for it. The teachers need to get with the program and take responsibly for what they are doing and that is getting all of the children a good education. all they worry about is their tenures………please give me and the rest of the taxpayers a break.

  30. hankR says:

    I find it interesting that a teacher retiring with an AVERAGE pension is the same monthly amount as the highest Federal unemployment payment. RESEARCH IT!

    35% of last 3/5 years highest teacher average salary is in reality what is paid out per month. ANd of course with 2011 Fed tax increase of average of $50 more a month it is slowly being dwindled less than unemployment.

    My opinion of these times are based on 10 items I posted above that affect all states, but 5. The strategy is to blame civil servants , publicize highest salary people , and place teachers, firemen, the police in opposition from the public good. Then people will blame THEM for economic misfortune , while the the private sector , will see tax credits and incentives as MORE PROFIT of course.

    Why would you hire more people (companies)if you are doing fine with less people and now given tax incentives. Human nature. who in their right mind , if given tax incentives ,as in local NJ towns would want to hire someone , pay out more wages and oh yes even …here it comes,, Health care . hah NEVER !
    Think survival of a business, these efforts , though noble only help businesses plod along . Believe me they are not waking up everyday and screaming ” I am obsessed with …job creation” . HAH These are the idealistic Slogans, what political stuff is made of my friends. .

  31. Ord says:

    I know this is a complicated issue, and I’m sorry if this question seems silly, but if this Governor is successful, will pension workers that ARE ALREADY RETIRED be affected? And are Police and teacher’s pensions federally protected in any way?

  32. p johnson says:

    TEACHERS MAKE TOO MUCH $$$

    Teachers’ hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work 9 or10 months a year! It’s time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do – mostly babysit!

    We can get that for less than minimum wage.

    That’s right. Let’s give them $3.00 an hour and only the hours they worked; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school. That would be $19.50 a day (7:45 to 3:00 PM with 45 min. off for lunch and plan– that equals 6 1/2 hours).

    Each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children. Now how many students do they teach in a day…maybe 30? So that’s $19.50 x 30 = $585.00 a day.

    However, remember they only work 180 days a year!!! I am not going to pay them for any vacations.

    LET’S SEE….

    That’s $585 X 180= $105,300 per year. (Hold on! My calculator needs new batteries).

    What about those special education teachers and the ones with Master’s degrees? Well, we could pay them minimum wage ($7.75), and just to be fair, round it off to $8.00 an hour. That would be $8 X 6 1/2 hours X 30 children X 180 days = $280,800 per year.

    Wait a minute — there’s something wrong here!
    There sure is!
    The average teacher’s salary (nation wide) is $50,000. $50,000/180 days = $277.77/per day/30 students=$9.25/6.5 hours = $1.42 per hour per student–a very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even EDUCATE your kids!)
    WHAT A DEAL!!!!

  33. HEATHER says:

    Last time I paid property taxes, I saw the break down that includes money the schools and other community programs receive from my property taxes. The last time I paid Federal and state income taxes the sum I paid out was much greater than the property taxes I paid, with next to nothing in the form of a tax return. Now for the past decade I have paid the government so much money I have lost count. Over the past 3 years my paycheck has decreased from mandatory pension contributions, federal and state tax contribitions, social security tax, now healthcare contributions and whatever else the government decides to randomly take. I wonder if this system even cares if they keep over 50% of your household income before your even see one penny. Yet the proce of food and gas still continues to rise as our paychecks get smaller. I wish I could just take money from someone else just be cause I couldnt balance a budget. Why are healthcare industries allowed to charge so much money and still require a co-pay. Why are my tax dollars taken from me before and after I receive my paycheck. Doesn’T sound like an American Dream to me more like an American Night mare.

    There may not be a pension or social security when Im ready to collect, but for some reason the money still comes out of my pay. WOW………

    The big picture is where is all the money going that the state and federal government dont seem to have.

    Maybe if they check where the money is spent and stop everyone from stealing there would be enough for everyone to maintain.

  34. I live in Branchburg Township and I just read in the paper today that our township is going to raise our taxes by 4%. Was it not state that the Governor did not want any towns to raise taxes more than 2%?

  35. Douglas says:

    Government is too big. State workers are easy targets. What happened to the required state share of pension contributions going back to Governor Whitman. They were deferred to give taxpayers more programs, more services, more rebates all approved by the legislature because taxpayers wanted more services and lower taxes. Again budgets balanced on the back of state employees. Before reducing benefits how about mandating consolidation of municipalities/school districts in New Jersey. Other state have county-wide school districts that produce better results than New Jersey. Why are towns allowed to have no school or one elementary school with all of the associated administrative costs. Why not cut there first? Because the legislators want to protect their home turf. Taxpayers want services but don’t want to pay for them. State workers also pay taxes and every other expenses that eveyone pays. What about wasteful spending. Local school boards approved salary and benefit contracts just to appease the unions. Cut at the municipal level first. What about sharing services?

  36. frank millin says:

    I would IMPEACH all these corporate greed pig politicians. If it weren’t for unions we would be making a mininum wage

  37. Stanley F. Schick says:

    This guy is the worst Governor in the history of The State of New Jersey and people are talking about him running for president? I can’t believe it! Politicians like him are the one and only reason we have all these money problems. He wants the working class and poor people to ante up but not his rich Republican buddies. The Governors have “borrowed” 46 Billion Dollars from the State Pension Fund and it is now 30.7 Billion Dollars underfunded. It doesn’t take a genius to do the math. They used this money wherever they pleased. Now we want to blame State Workers for our fiscal problems? Does anyone with any common sense really believe that the state employees, teachers, policeman and fireman or their Unions are really responsible for our fiscal problems? This is scapegoating on a grand scale by a mean spirited individual who has spawned a whole new group of uninformed hatemongers. Including writers and cartoonist who work for the Asbury Park Press. That cartoon by Margulies on Wednesday, March 9, 2011 depicting teachers in a negative manner is shameful. Margulies is an idiot. My wife is a damn good, hard working school teacher and I resent his absurd depiction of our teachers. This cartoon should have never been printed but what can you expect from the biased knuckleheads at the Asbury Park Press. If everyone is so jealous of teachers receiving their benefits why didn’t they aspire to be one. Work a full time job and go to school at the same time and see how easy it is. Then take 5 years to pay off your student loans while living on chopped meat and bread. Then work your tail off for moderate income and no appreciation from anyone. Then everyone could live a middle income existance like all these rich teachers. How many teachers do you know that are rich? I bet the answer is none. Their is only one place to put the blame. Squarely on the shoulders of our elected politicians. This Governor of ours needs to stop running around the country on our tax dollars and sit down and negotiate with the Unions with our best interests as taxpayers. The blame game is a farce to turn people against each other and people are falling for it.

  38. Meghan Teacher says:

    All of this makes me angry for so many reasons. I am a teacher and I have been working in public education for the past 7 years. At this current point in time my salary on paper is 55,000 a year but when all is said and done (AND PAID FOR) I take home less than 30…Where does my money go?? You act like we make so much…but in reality we make NOTHING…We educate OUR future, YOUR children and you are telling me there should be no “thank you” or “perk”? And don’t throw that 10 month crap in my face…do you know what I do in July and August? I prepare my classroom for your children, plan lessons, make new centers and buy supplies for your children with my own money (I have spent thousands on my classrom every year and do you know what I get back $90). In return I get a lack of respect and a headache reading this crap! Have any of you looked into why NJ is in the red? Let me tell you one thing, it’s not because of teachers, police officers and firemen. However, we are the one’s being targeted. We are the ones that are suffering in order to make up the deficit. He is pitting private sector against public and we are feeding right into it. We are allowing him to pull the puppet strings. He benefits from us being on opposite sides of the fence. Those of you in private business don’t know what I go through on a daily basis and I don’t know what you go through on a daily basis but don’t assume that I am getting over on you in anyway, I am not. I get my benifits paid for because my salary is ALWAYS GOING TO SUCK and I have accepted that. Hell, I signed on for it. This has turned into such a pissing match. It is rediculous. We have become nothing more than dogs salivating at the mouth to attack one another at the first chance we get.

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