Christie doesn’t want N.J. to wind up like Detroit due to 'unsustainable' pensions
June 16th, 2014
08:06 PM ET
6 years ago

Christie doesn’t want N.J. to wind up like Detroit due to 'unsustainable' pensions

(CNN) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie believes the state will resolve its budget problems, but reiterated he won’t raise taxes to do it and will stick to his plan to cut pension payments to stem the red ink.

Appearing on the “Ask the Governor” program on New Jersey 101.5 on Monday, Christie argued again that public pension and health care obligations are unsustainable over the long term, and tough medicine is needed to close an $807 million budget shortfall.

Christie’s administration and the Democratic-controlled state legislature must figure out a solution to balance the $33 billion budget by the end of the fiscal year on June 30.

“I won’t raise taxes on the people of New Jersey to pay for a Cadillac pension system,” he said, adding at one point that similar problems helped sink Detroit into bankruptcy.

“I don t want New Jersey to meet the same fate,” he said.

The Garden State’s credit rating has suffered due to a $52 billion public pension debt, a scenario that usually makes it more expensive to borrow money.

This year, Christie is proposing to pay $696 million in pension payments out of a scheduled $1.6 billion, and $681 million out of next year's planned $2.25 billion payment.

“I’m not picking on state workers or anyone else, but I have a budget to balance,” he said, adding that he has inherited the shortfall and is taking on the job to “clean it up.”

“I hate to bring the guy to bring the bad news,” he said.

Christie, who's seriously thinking about running for president, says the state is meeting its obligations to public sector workers and retirees, but warns the pension system won’t work years from now without reform.

“What I’m trying to is save the system over the long haul,” Christie said, adding that he eventually wants to start paying down the pension debt.

The health of the New Jersey economy would factor importantly in any Christie presidential campaign – a launching pad for him if it’s good and a point of criticism for rivals if it’s not.

Christie also chairs the Republican Governors Association, a group actively trying to frame a 2014 message that says states with Republican governors are more fiscally sound.

Filed under: 2016 • Chris Christie • New Jersey
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Then start by giving your's up Chris...

    June 16, 2014 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  2. alex

    Lack of revenue is what bankrupted Detroit. So instead of asking the wealthy and healthy to help burden the impacts of his consistently unbalanced budgets, he is going to essentially tax the working middle class to pay for it by taking cash out of their pockets that they earned through hard work. And boy does he have a short term memory – it's his billions in welfare for the rich that has bankrupted his state. Typical GOP, stealing from the poor to give to the rich.

    June 16, 2014 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  3. Smitty

    The dems in Detroit over spent over promised etc, its the dem way be a mooch. Until you vote the dems out of the Senate this will continue. Jersey and a host of others under dem (non) leadership are going that way, good luck !!!

    June 16, 2014 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  4. Mightyduk

    It's not that complicated you cannot work for 20 years and live off of it for the next 50 becomes unsustainable real quick. The military also needs to rethink their over generous pensions.

    June 16, 2014 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  5. S. B. Stein

    This guy is a ideologue that doesn't understand that he can't do what he is doing. If he is unwilling to raise taxes, then he needs to face the facts that he is going to violate a contract. There are consequences for breaking a contract. The workers have been putting in their share while the state hasn't. How is that fair for him not to raise taxes on those that have the most? It is the property taxes that trouble most residents of NJ.

    June 16, 2014 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  6. jrsgta

    you need job creation to get tax revenue to pay pensions....lowest job growth in the nation in N.J.

    June 16, 2014 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  7. Former republican, now an independent

    Why is it that every republican in this country believes the only way you can pay off the debt they have ran up, is to steal the pensions workers have earned. It is no coincidence that these republicans, nor their wealthy friends and campaign contributors are ever affected!

    June 16, 2014 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  8. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    I'm sure YOUR pension is just fine. Right Governor?

    June 16, 2014 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  9. Thomas

    I didn't know they made cars in Jersey ?

    Was Chris Christie really a lobbyist for Bernie" Madoff ?

    June 17, 2014 02:58 am at 2:58 am |
  10. j.v.hodgson

    Corporate entities wrestled with this pension matter of "defined benefits" decades ago..... the solution was unpopular with employees and in most cases was fixed by converting to defined contribution systems, overall reducing the end benefit from being in a pension plan.
    Many CEO's were fired because the solution of even so meant a hit to Current P&L's to prop up the fund to get employees to agree the " defined contributions"
    If Christie thinks he can solve this all at the pensioners expense as he currently suggests then he' d better run for President of the USA as he will ( for sure) lose the next governorship election in NJ.

    June 17, 2014 03:08 am at 3:08 am |
  11. king

    why is cnn keeps promoting christi every day. isnt their any other governor in this country.

    June 17, 2014 04:14 am at 4:14 am |

    What a joke. Christie WILL let NJ wind up like Detroit with Guns Over People teatard no tax and spend policies.

    June 17, 2014 05:20 am at 5:20 am |
  13. Marie MD

    He'll never make it to president weight loss or not.

    June 17, 2014 06:31 am at 6:31 am |