Poll: How Would You Solve Gov. Christie’s State Budget Crisis?
That oft-mentioned $1.6B is a sizable chunk of change. Does getting to that number call for extreme belt-tightening or wishful thinking?
There are only three more months left in this fiscal year and if New Jersey follows a court order issued in February, the state is on the hook for finding $1.6 billion in a tight budget to meet legally required pension contributions. The issue stems back years, when governors of both parties failed to make the actuarially recommended payments to the state pension system, which covers teachers and state workers.
Despite having signed a law in 2011 that was supposed to rectify the problem, Gov. Chris Christie has been stumping throughout the state telling voters that New Jersey simply cannot afford to make the contractually obligated payments and that the system needs to be overhauled. He has also asked the state Supreme Court to fast-track the appeals process -- skipping the Appellate Court -- to finally determine what the state must do this year and next. In both years, Christie has proposed making a much smaller pension payment than he promised four years ago when he signed the legislation.
There are no easy answers, but given the problems facing the State of New Jersey …