Making New Jersey governor Chris Christie upset is about as easy as cutting somebody off on the Garden State Parkway, so it doesn't come as a surprise that the gargantuan governor expressed anger over the “lack of progress” made by the committee developing new health insurance plans for 800,000 government workers.
Governor Christie has vowed to get New Jersey out of the red, and his budget passed in late June demonstrated that he is willing to take a chainsaw to just about anything with a hint of union in it. His public spats with the state's teachers union and teachers themselves has given him YouTube fame and elevated his nation standing in the GOP.
And, once again, it looks like Christie is preparing for another showdown with the state's unions.
"It seems to me that the people on the union side just want to drag their feet," Christie said last week in Manasquan. "I'm discouraged by the attitude they've taken but not surprised."The two sides are staring down a potential stalemate.
The issue in question is over the prescription drug plan, with the unions wanting half the savings to lower drug co-pays for retirees. However, with the state evidently facing a $67 billion unfunded liability for retiree and employees’ health care, the Christie administration would like for the state to keep the savings.
According to the president of the state troopers union and a member of one of the committees, Dave Jones, the members appear to be working in good faith.
"This is a most admirable and worthy pursuit to save everyone money," Jones said in an interview.
Jones strongly believes that members representing both the union and state sides of negotiations are working very hard to produce a cost-efficient plan.