Gov. Chris Christie speaks at the Politics and Eggs breakfast meeting at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College in Manchester last week.
(Photo: Associated Press file)
Courier-Post - It’s amazing to me that Gov. Chris Christie continues to travel around the country gloating on his accomplishments as governor, saying that he’s worked with Democrats to pass reforms that are beneficial to New Jersey, more recently with the 2011 Pension and Health Benefit Reform law.
The ultimate travesty with the governor’s words on this particular issue is that he broke his promise and his words are absolutely meaningless. Not only are public employees not responsible for the state’s pensions woes, they agreed to work with the governor, with the leadership of Senate President Steve Sweeney, to pass a reform that was controversial and they also made major concessions.
The intent of this bill was that public employees agreed to pay more toward their benefits, while the state agreed to make the annual pension payments that several governors had ignored. Christie is not keeping his end of the bargain with the payments he promised to make.
This problem started with Gov. Christine Todd Whitman in 1996, when she decided that in order to achieve a balanced state budget she would reduce the amount of money contributed to the pension fund. In 1997, she decided the state should borrow $2.75 billion from the fund and use it elsewhere. The pension fund was raided and all governors since her time have not made the proper payments.
Although I’m not a full-time employee in the public sector, have spent most of my life working in the private sector and don’t have a pension, I’m infuriated that the governor continues to blame public-sector employees as the problem, even though they weren’t the ones who created it. And now with being elected in local government, I see how hard our police, our teachers and our town employees work and get so little respect in return.
I’m tired that the governor uses public employees as his whipping post to further his aspirations and doesn’t give them the respect they deserve. Recently, the governor even had the audacity to say that teachers get paid full time for part-time work. How can someone be so arrogant and disrespectful? My grandmother was a teacher and, growing up, I recall her spending time after school to work with students and taking work home grading papers and working on lesson plans at 9 p.m. She also did work during the summer. Being a teacher is more than a 40-hour, five-day-a-week full-time job.
For someone who talks about bipartisanship, talks about making shared sacrifices, gloats about his leadership skills and working together, the governor never seems to lead on anything or maintain his end of the bargain. Maybe if he decided to spend more time in this state instead of running around trying to further his presidential aspirations, he would find a way to reach a real compromise with the state budget’s budget woes.
He always talks about a shared sacrifice and says that the state doesn’t have money to make the payments he promised, but he gave a tax cut to millionaires. How’s that a shared sacrifice and how much were taxes raised on working and middle-class families to pay for the money that was lost from the millionaires tax?
At this point, I honestly don’t trust a word he says and neither should the people of New Jersey. It’s time for real leadership in Trenton and that won’t come from Christie, because he spends most of his time outside of the state.
Cody D. Miller is vice president of Monroe Township Council.