Christie says he is preparing to reduce health benefits for public employees, raise their coverage contributions | State | -- Your State. Your News.

Jun 02nd
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Christie says he is preparing to reduce health benefits for public employees, raise their coverage contributions

christie080310larsen_optSays $4.3 billion of $28 billion state budget goes for health coverage


Gov. Chris Christie said Monday that he is preparing to propose changes in health care coverage for public employees in New Jersey and he indicated the changes would include reducing benefits and requiring them to pay a share of the coverage.

In a 14-minute telephone interview with on WABC Radio‘s Sean Hannity show, that governor said, "$4.3 billion of New Jersey's ($28 billion) budget goes for health care for public sector workers. Next week I plan to talk about reform.''

Christie said the state public employees' pension system is underfunded by $54 million and that he is attempting to cut benefits, raise the retirement age and the amount of public employee contributions. "If our plan gets put into place, we can cut that deficit in half in 15 years," he said.

Christie reiterated his opposition to President Obama‘s fledgling health care program. He described the plan as "insane" and said it will bankrupt the states.

"What the (now Republican-controlled) House needs to do is to stop shoveling money to the states," the governor said. "It's like giving more drugs to addicts. Let everybody (the states) buck up and make the tough (financial) decisions. We are doing that in New Jersey and the public is responding extremely well."

Christie said he did not have New Jersey join 20 other states in suing to stop Obama's health care plan as unconstitutional to save the state money. "For once in our history, New Jersey is taking a free ride," he said. "For once I want to give my citizens, who pay the highest taxes in America, a free ride."

Responding to Democratic and media criticism about vacationing at Disney World in Orlando, Fla. while New Jersey confronted a holiday-season blizzard, Christie said his wife and children come first and he was not going to disappoint them by canceling a long-planned vacation.

The governor said he and his cabinet were prepared three days in advance for the storm and that he believes New Jersey's response was better than that of New York City or Philadelphia. "For the most part, unfortunately, I was on my cell phone,'' he said.

Asked about the Democratic and media criticism, Christie said, "That just rolls of my back."

Reflecting on his first year in office, Christie said his administration overcame a $2.2 billion deficit in the 2009-10 budget and an $11 billion deficit in the 2010-11 budget, which he blamed former Democratic governor Jon Corzine for leaving him to confront. He said he was successful in creating a 2 percent cap on both annual property tax hikes and public employee contracts.

Christie also said that his fledgling economic policies have moved New Jersey from 50th to 48th among states when it comes to best states in which to do business. He blamed Democrats for what he described as raising taxes 116 times during the eight years before he took office.

"In the four years of the Corzine administration, $70 billion in wealth left New Jersey for states like Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania," Christie said. "All have significantly lower tax rates than New Jersey. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure this out."

Christie also commented on his decision to halt the Hudson commuter rail tunnel project, saying that while the tunnel would have been helpful for commuters, the state could not afford it.

"In New Jersey, we did the right thing," the governor said. "We had liberal Democrats screaming and crying because we turned back $3 billion in funding. We simply didn't have the money to do it and I refuse to raise taxes and fees on people of New Jersey to do that. We would all like to have another rail tunnel into New York City but everything comes at a cost. It's time to start putting up or shutting up."

Comments (8)
8 Wednesday, 05 January 2011 06:38
Why do all these newspaper articles claim Christie balanced the budget? He only did so by deferring contractual obligations, just as previous governors for the past 15 years have been doing. The budget will only be balanced once all monies borrowed from the unemployment trust fund and public worker pension system have been repaid. Until then, saying the budget is balanced is like me saying I balanced my budget by not paying a credit card bill or making a mortgage payment. I vited for Christie, but am sick and tired of the false claims.
7 Tuesday, 04 January 2011 16:32
Tough Love
Quoting The Big Joke ..."Sure people are leaving the State of New Jersey because of people like you, and will continue to leave. Law Enforcement,Fire Fighters, Teachers, and Government Workers through their votes to you, and look what you're doing to them. "

Christie is trying to do what SHOULD HAVE been done years ago .... rein-in the abuses of the Unions and the stupidly of out legislature who (as a result of Union contributions and members block-voting and election support) have corrupted the system aand sold NJ's Private Sector taxpayers down the toilet.

The time to fix things is NOW ....

The BEST BEST BEST action is a "hard freeze" on all pensions, and 50+ % contributions for healthcare.

Did you really think the safety workers "throwing their votes to Christie" justifies more of the same ripoff of the taxpayers ??? You've got to be a Public Sector worker (likely a policeman of paid FF) feeding at the trough.
6 Tuesday, 04 January 2011 15:09
The Big Joke!
Governor Christie speaks out of both sides of his mouth, and has no clue whnat happened during thr Christy Whitman Administration, where's the money Christy & Christie. Sure people are leaving the State of New Jersey because of people like you, and will continue to leave. Law Enforcement,Fire Fighters, Teachers, and Government Workers through their votes to you, and look what you're doing to them. You are a real joke Christie, just like you're sister Christine Todd Whitman.
5 Tuesday, 04 January 2011 11:24
RweAll STupid?
If the biggest bill is for Health care cost and the CEO of said "Non-Profit Health Care" just earned over 8 million dollars last year, shouldn't he be going after the Health care profession? R we all stupid?
4 Tuesday, 04 January 2011 10:17
Jeff Sanderson
Governor Whitman steals $30 million from the PFRS and never repays it. He disipline........slap on the wrist. State and local municipalities haven't made thier required pension payments. What do they do with that money? Give themselves raises, hire friends and whatever else THEY see fit. Not what the money should really be going towards. The unions have done nothing than play by the rules. What about that $400 million that the Governor lost......oh well I guess mistakes happen. Just like you getting ELECTED.
3 Tuesday, 04 January 2011 00:06
Tough Love
Dear Capitalist Greed,

Good try at diversion from the real issue at hand .....

Christie is right on the money ...the ROOT CAUSE of NJ's financial ills is the insatiable greed of the Civil Servant Unions and the contributions they feed to self-serving, contribution-soliciting, vote-selling elected officials (politicians) who approve the grossly excessive pay, benefits, and pensions.

His only miscalculation is in the enormity of the financial hole we're in and the changes needed to climb out of it. Even if he gets the rollback of the 9% increase in pensions granted some years back, it will do squat to address the problem (before we're bankrupt), as future year pension accruals will STILL be 2-4 times that granted comparably paid Private Sector workers.....growing the unfunded liability even further.

Ideally the DB Plan needs a "hard freeze" for CURRENT (yes CURRENT) workers....replaced by a 401K-style DC Plan with modest taxpayer contributions.

Second best is a huge reduction (50+%) in future years pension accruals to FULLY bring them in line with the few remaining in the Private Sector.

Additionally, we need massive cuts to subsidized retiree healthcare as well as a huge reduction in NJ's gov't workforce ....outsource 50+% of ALL positions.

If it's not an "essential service" (defined in the strictest terms), the job belongs in the Private Sector.Union Greed, not Capitalist Greed
2 Monday, 03 January 2011 23:06
K. Foster
THIS is a perfect example of our country now and our country following the Great Depression. Businesses created jobs where there was no work and did their best to assist people in need. Look at what we have now AND the differences then and now in class separation. Every business in the country is trying to do their best to screw their workers in every and any way that they can and some of them do it because it gives them millions in bonuses. Look at the every widening class separation. Where do you think that'll lead? You won't be happy until people are dropping their dying children in front the gates of your estates while begging for help. Or you'll have to have your private bodygaurds knocking the people begging for food over so you can get to your tee time. This IS happening in other capitalized places so don't think it can't happen here. What amazes me is that many of you call yourselves christians. I'd love to be sitting at the gates with you people when you try to explain this relentless greed. Sickening.
1 Monday, 03 January 2011 22:05
Ticked off
This guy is a joke. He's telling everyone that Big Gov. needs to stop shoveling money to the States (ie: addicts) and yet, this guy apply for federal funding during the last snow storm. They all lie.

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