Judge rules against Christie on pension payments

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A state judge today ruled against Gov. Chris Christie’s decision to cut promised payments into the state’s pension system.

The judge said New Jersey must make the full required $2.25 billion payment into the system.

Christie had proposed cutting about $1.6 billion from that payment, citing a budget squeeze.

Read that story here.

New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech released the following statement after today’s ruling by Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson:

“We are elated that Judge Jacobson — after much thoughtful deliberation — ruled that Gov. Christie acted illegally when he withheld the state’s contractually obligated and legally mandated pension contributions. By refusing to make the required payments, the governor has exacerbated the chronic underfunding of the entire retirement system to the point of crisis. While this decision is almost certain to be appealed, this administration must immediately begin replenishing the system. We hope this matter is adjudicated quickly on appeal, and that the ruling provides public-sector workers and retirees with the security of knowing that the deferred compensation they negotiated, earned and paid into will in fact be there when they need it.”

 New Jersey PBA President Patrick Colligan likewise rejoiced, reacting to the news in an emailed statement.
 
“Today’s ruling overturning the Governor’s cuts in the State’s required pension payments is a victory not just for the public employees and retirees who were promised a fully funded pension by the State but it serves as a message to Governor Christie that he is bound by the laws he is sworn to uphold,” Colligan said.
 
“The decision today says loudly and clearly that the State must fulfill the promises it made under Chapter 78 to fund the pension system and that despite the Governor’s claim that he will not pay for “the sins of the past” that it is his legal responsibility to address them as the law requires.
 
“The Governor signed a law that trades cuts in our pension and benefits in exchange for a promise to make pension payments.  The Governor only wants to take the half of that deal that involves pain for employees and retirees.  He knew the math when he made that promise yet he has tried to renege on it ever since.  We are grateful that Judge Jacobson so clearly reminded the Governor about what it means when he signs his name to a law.”

Judge rules against Christie on pension payments