Rick: How can you close me up? On what grounds?
Captain Renault: I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here! [a croupier hands Renault a pile of money]
Croupier: Your winnings, sir.
Captain Renault: [sotto voce] Oh, thank you very much. [aloud]
Captain Renault: Everybody out at once!
We may not be in Casablanca, but insincerity was on full display yesterday when a Superior Court judge in New Jersey issued a ruling that Governor Christie has the authority to slash a scheduled pension payment due to a massive cash crunch. But the real news is old news: N.J.’s pension promises to state workers are a charade unless someone – from either the executive branch or the top echelon of the unions – starts telling the truth.
Christie announced his intention last month to violate state law and not make a full pension payment of $1.58 billion because the state budget office, ever the optimist, overestimated state income tax revenues by about $650 million. Hence, the inability to make the full payment, yet one more variation of a theme in a two-decade performance over the last two decades by Jersey governors, politicians, and lobbyists. (See this recent column for a history of N.J.’s pensions scams.)
In response to Christie’s announcement, eight labor unions sued the Governor and the state treasurer.
Read the rest here.
Also, see Mark Magyar’s piece in today’s NJ Spotlight on the latest wranglings in the Statehouse and the courts over N.J.’s pension payments.