As reported on, the head of the State’s largest police union, The New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association, publicly criticized Governor Chris Christie in a press release over $50 million in what he called “pension giveaways” to local municipalities.
The giveaways, State Policemen’s Benevolent Association head Anthony Wieners said were gained on the backs of the state’s public sector unions.
Wieners stated, “While the governor continues to campaign that the state pension system is ‘unsustainable’ and in need of reform, he himself is intentionally weakening the (Police and Firemen’s Retirement System) by waiving an additional $50 million in local government’s pension obligations. In doing so, he is continuing the same fiscal mismanagement and sleazy games that underfunded the pension fund for over a decade and that led to the situation we are in today.”
In an email sent following Wiener’s press release, Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak pointed out that the Christie administration this year will pay the largest ever payment to the state pension fund at $2.25 billion, nearly equaling the total payment in the 10 years prior to Christie’s 2009 election to office. Furthermore, Drewniak also pointed out that the total payments during Christie’s four plus years in office have totaled $5.3 billion, more than double the $2.4 billion paid in the 10 years prior to Christie taking office.
“Our goal has been to stabilize and preserve the public employee pension system,” Drewniak said. “But the long-term, massive pension liability plainly threatens the very state and local budgets that support Mr. Wieners’ union membership. That’s a mathematical, actuarial certainty that he ignores at the peril of his members.”
In response to Drewniak, Wieners said since the passage of the pension reform bill nearly three years ago, the administration has offset the increased employee contributions with reductions on the local level contribution, in effect taking contributions from members of the system and handing them to local governments.
“This giveaway to local governments disguised as property tax relief was generated from funds taken out of the pockets of retired and active law enforcement officers, who saw their pension contributions rise, their (cost of living increases) eliminated and their benefits cut,” Wieners said. “The state PBA is sick of politicians who use our pensions as a slush fund and then complain that our benefits are no longer affordable.”