Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson ruled Wednesday that Gov. Chris Christie does not have to restore the $887 million in funds he cut from the 2014 pension contribution. CWA New Jersey State Director Hetty Rosenstein told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that New Jersey is suffering because Christie has not reinvested in the state.
When asked how she felt about the ruling, Rosenstein said she is not that disappointed. She said she was more disappointed that Jacobson did not rule that at least $300 million should go into the 2014 budget. She said, however, that she understood that Jacobson said that it was not ready for her to give injunctive relief.
“This ruling was very specific and narrow. It had only to do with 2014 and Jacobson was pretty clear and said we had a very unusual circumstance here, which was that in May it is learned that there isn’t enough revenue. That is a very different situation from for example today, if there is a budget passed with adequate revenue to make the pension payment and the governor makes a choice to veto that revenue out, I think that is a very different circumstance than the one that Jacobson was deciding,” said Rosenstein.
Jacobson pointed out that if the money did not come out of the pension payments, it would have to come out of some other program, such as vitally important social service programs. That money has to be located in the next fiscal year or those programs could be cut nonetheless. When asked how the state would be able to pay its obligations to the pension system and to keep other programs that are vital to the state’s future and the people of New Jersey’s needs, Rosenstein said she agrees with the Democrats’ plan to raise taxes for the wealthy.
New Jersey millionaires — the top one percent and above — have had enormous tax breaks and extremely profitable corporations have been receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks in order to create jobs, according to Rosenstein. She said that jobs have not been created from those tax breaks and they have been essentially corporate welfare. She said that Democrats are saying it is time for millionaires and corporations to pay their fair share so that New Jersey can pay its debts and meet its obligations. She said the Christie administration has been using trickle down economics and the result has been that New Jersey is 48th in the country in terms of the recovery.
“New Jersey is suffering because Christie has chosen to give enormous tax breaks and not reinvested in the state. This has been going on for 20 years, where the state has not made its payments. Here we are not making the payments and somehow the argument is that if you make the payments for pensions for people who retire, somehow that is taking away from human need,” said Rosenstein. “No, let’s tax the millionaires and corporations that have literally been getting corporate welfare and let’s meet the needs of New Jersey and try to rebuild. Let’s have a different economic program and policy and approach and we’ll see our state come back.”
Rosenstein said that she thinks Christie is trying to distract everyone from his other issues and he wants to pull out his old whipping boy — public workers and their benefits — and he wants to try to use that so that people aren’t talking about other issues like Bridgegate.