Pat Colligan, president of the New Jersey Police Benevolent Association (PBA), fired of a letter to members moments ago, denouncing Gov. Chris Christie’s expected proposal to reduce pension and healthcare benefits.
Colligan made it clear that he and his group will fight the governor on this front.
Reprinted here is Colligan’s full letter…
“Very shortly, the Governor will begin his State of the State address. We are expecting that the Governor will propose significant further pension and healthcare reductions. We believe that the formal report of the Governor’s Pension Commission will be released very soon to support the Governor’s expected message today.
“It is important for you to know that we are aware of the content of the report and we have had the opportunity to respond to what we feel are the inaccuracies and shortcomings of the report. We are also well aware that due to the time constraints imposed on them by the Governor that the Commission’s work, unfortunately, is not completely done and will not specifically discuss the health of PFRS. It also does not address the simple fact that the vast majority of PFRS is funded by Local and County Government, a position that the NJ League of Municipalities wholeheartedly agrees.
“In the 2012 State of the State, Governor Christie proudly proclaimed ‘we saved their pensions’. He added; ‘Our pension system, which was on a path to insolvency, is now on much more sound footing. With your help, we tackled the problem head on.’ It was a success he shouted on the national stage for years after. He has repeatedly called Chapter 78 his crowning bipartisan achievement.
“I would expect this Governor will again today tout the bipartisan pension reform from 2011. But his reflections on Chapter 78 mask his own deliberate acts to destroy pensions as we know them. I would like to remind everybody that in 2014 the Governor declared parts of his reforms ‘illegal’ in the State’s own legal briefs responding to our pension lawsuit. The former Federal Prosecutor, the attorney, the Governor who signed that law declared his obligation to make a pension payment to be ‘illegal’ and unenforceable. He also vetoed bipartisan legislation that would have required our additional contributions required by Chapter 78 to actually go back into PFRS where they belong. He has proven time and time again that he wants our system to fail.
“This unfortunately is the kind of bait and switch we have come to expect from Governor Christie’s ‘promises’. Based on our recent meetings and our experience with the Administration there is nothing in the Governor’s speech or in the anticipated Pension Commission report that surprises us. We must remember that we are little more than pawns in the Governor’s mission to become a candidate for national office. He is not interested in the facts, in the reality of how PFRS works or in living up to his commitments.
“Needless to say, there is absolutely no higher priority on our agenda.