Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey scored a major victory over unions I a court ruling that supported the Governor in his bid to reduce the amounts of pensions for governmental employees. The ruling overturns a lower court’s ruling that the New Jersey Government is required to fund and commit to pension amounts.
Justice Jaynee LaVecchia did indicate that New Jersey needs to get its financial house in order and that the pension amounts are in excess of what the state can afford. Christie indicated that this is a great victory for taxpayers who cannot fund these future pension payments in amounts that the New Jersey employers agreed t at the time.
According to Marcio Alaor BMG on blogspot, unions are stating that the ruling is unfair in that employees are required to make contributions into their pensions but employers are not required to do so. Requiring employees to continue to contribute to a failing pension system while the New Jersey government is not required to was the major point that two of the dissenting judges made.
There will be likely appeals to the ruling as there were to the original ruling by the lower courts that supported the union’s positions. Christie entered a deal with public workers in 2011 requiring the government to fund their commitments for pension contributions in exchange for reductions in the amounts. The New Jersey Government has not made these contributions and is scrambling to make even 50% of the required contributions.