HAMILTON – In response to a town hall audience member, Gov. Chris Christie said Tuesday he would like to “move eventually” toward a 401K retirement system for public employees.
However, he said doing so now could “collapse” the state pension system and the retirements of current public employees who are vested in the system
“I’d like to move to that,” he said. “That’s a goal I’d like to get to.”
Christie said much of the federal government has moved toward 401k retirement plans and he himself has one, as opposed to a traditional pension.
He said the current enrollees have banked on the current defined benefit plan for their retirement, and he must “walk a fine line.”
“I don’t want to see people get hurt,” he said.
The current state pension system is $54 billion underfunded.
As part of his tool kit reforms, Christie has called for higher contributions, particularly from teachers and judges, and make it on par with police officers, who on average contribute 8.5 percent of their salaries toward pensions.
Presently, teachers contribute 5.5 percent and judges 3 percent, according to the governor.
Christie made it clear that he’s for fair and adversarial collective bargaining, and eliminated any idea that the Garden State is like another state that stirred up controversy with unions.
“This isn’t Wisconsin!” Christie said.