by Brian Washington
New Jersey educators are joining with other public workers who serve their communities to block Gov. Chris Christie’s proposed raid on their pensions.
New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), which represents 200,000 educators from across the state, in conjunction with other public employee unions, has filed a suit against Christie and state Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff. In May, Christie issued a statement announcing he would not abide by pension funding requirements outlined in a law that he championed and signed.
In a statement issued today, NJEA President and high school mathematics teacher Wendell Steinhauer says that everyone in the state, including Christie, is subject to state laws.
Our lawsuit seeks to hold him accountable to follow the law that he signed in 2011. Since that time, the
more than 500,000 active members of New Jersey’s public pension systems have been making larger pension contributions out of every paycheck while being promised reduced benefits in retirement. Nearly 300,000 retirees have seen their promised cost of living adjustments frozen as well. They did not get to choose whether to comply with the law and we will not allow Gov. Christie to treat his obligations under the very same law as optional.
Because of the significant sacrifices made by public employees and retirees, the state has a viable path to pension solvency, but only if Gov. Christie lives up to his obligations. If he does not, New Jersey taxpayers will be saddled with even larger obligations once he is out of office. That doesn’t serve the interests of anyone who cares about New Jersey’s long-term well-being.
We will continue to work with the legislature to ensure that lawmakers defend and uphold the law they passed just three years ago.
Today’s news about the lawsuit follows an opinion editorial from Steinhauer. He stated in the piece that, if the governor failed to make the full required pension contribution, NJEA would sue him for violating state law.
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