Budget Committee Chairmen Say That There Is A Plan B For Pension

By Michael Aron
Chief Political Correspondent

This was Gov. Chris Christie Monday on why he’s sticking with his plan to solve the budget problem by cutting the state’s contribution to the pension system.

“No. No. I don’t have a plan B and but by the way nor does anyone else. You see since I announced what the plan was, you have not heard boo. Nothing from anybody else in a position of leadership in the state saying they have a different plan that’s able to fill the size of the gap that we have. So no there is no plan B, this is the plan” said Christie.

“Of course there is a plan B. For the governor to say there’s no plan B, it may not be attractive,” said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo.

Sarlo says Plan B is to bring in more revenue by ending corporate tax breaks and hiking the income tax on the wealthy, doing a better job of growing the state economy overall, and doing some cutting.

“It may not be very attractive, but it’s significant cuts, it’s an income tax increase on the higher income earners, an income tax surcharge. So there are options out there,” said Sarlo.

“He is the head of the government of the state of New Jersey. The buck stops with him. He can’t simply throw out one idea and say now it’s your turn to come up with an idea. We look forward to leadership and unfortunately we’re not getting that leadership right now,” said Assembly Budget committee chairman Gary Schaer.

Schaer agrees with his fellow Democrat and Senate counterpart.

“We’ve proposed a millionaire’s tax, we’ve proposed other ways of developing revenue. The governor said ‘I want to do this on a bi-partisan basis, everything’s on the table’—except tax increases, except a millionaire’s tax. That’s not the way to negotiate,” said Schaer.

“There are revenues we aren’t getting because they’re being given back to the wealthiest individuals, profitable corporations,” said Hetty Rosenstein.

The head of the CWA, one of twelve public employee unions suing to block the governor, says Plan B is obvious.

“This is not a pension crisis. This is a crisis of the governor’s poor policies and what a disaster he is as an economic manager. Plan B is that we have better economic policies, that we have fair taxation in this state,” said Rosenstein.

This fight comes to a head in the courtroom of Judge Mary Jacobson two weeks from today.

Whatever the judge decides will set up a complicated game of political and budgetary chess in the five days before the June 30 deadline, and is likely to involve an emergency meeting of the state supreme court.