In his quest to secure a massive overhaul of the public employee pension and health benefits package, Gov. Chris Christie has two formidable weapons available to him — a continuing and rising discontent with government spending and taxes and sobering data proving conclusively that failure to act will send the system tumbling into a black hole of insolvency, taking the state budget, public employees and retirees along with it.
The pension fund is staggering under an unfunded liability of $50 billion to more than $100 billion — depending on whose estimate you are willing to accept — and, if unchanged, will become unsustainable.
The Governor's proposals to reform the system brought cries of outrage from public employee union officials, along with threats of litigation to block their implementation.
Senate President Steve Sweeney labeled the Governor's plan a non-starter unless the Administration follows through on its obligation to make a substantial contribution to the pension fund. Sweeney believes the system is in need of serious revisions, but feels that the Administration should live up to its commitment.