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Ear to the Ground

Christie and N.J. Lawmakers Show No Mercy for Public Workers

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Posted on Jun 24, 2011
Flickr / Gilded:

New Jersey’s Gov. Chris Christie.

Republicans and a handful of “Christie Democrats” joined forces in New Jersey’s legislature on Thursday to punch through a bill that will require public workers to pay way more for their health insurance and pensions, curb unions’ collective bargaining rights and rob them of other crucial benefits.

Gov. Chris Christie, a hard-nosed darling of the anti-union, hyper-pro-business right, had the audacity to claim the cuts will serve the interests of the New Jersey public, saying: “We are putting the people first and daring to touch the third rail of politics in order to bring reform to an unsustainable system.” He is expected to sign the measure into law soon. —ARK

The New York Times:

New Jersey lawmakers on Thursday approved a broad rollback of benefits for 750,000 government workers and retirees, the deepest cut in state and local costs in memory, in a major victory for Gov. Chris Christie and a once-unthinkable setback for the state’s powerful public employee unions.

The Assembly passed the bill 46 to 32, as Republicans and a few Democrats defied raucous protests by thousands of people whose chants, vowing electoral revenge, shook the State House. Leaders in the State Senate said their chamber, which had already passed a slightly different version of the bill, would approve the Assembly version on Monday. Mr. Christie, a Republican, was expected to sign the measure into law quickly.

... The legislation will sharply increase what state and local workers must contribute for their health insurance and pensions, suspend cost-of-living increases to retirees’ pension checks, raise retirement ages and curb the unions’ contract bargaining rights. It will save local and state governments $132 billion over the next 30 years, by the administration’s estimate, and give the troubled benefit systems a sounder financial footing, mostly by shifting costs onto workers.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 26, 2011 at 5:23 am Link to this comment

When can we start the recall process in NJ? 
Why can’t we have a Cuomo instead of a Christie?

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prisnersdilema's avatar

By prisnersdilema, June 25, 2011 at 10:36 am Link to this comment

God forgive them because they know not what they do… Unfortunately I cannot forgive.
Go ahead and cut them, cut all their salaries to rock bottom, then wonder why housing
prices keep falling because no one is buying homes, why car sales are off, and
business moves elsewhere because hey have no customers. People without money also
cut back what they buy.  Then cut taxes for the wealthy, and you will soon need to bring
in the national guard to keep order. Chubs, is another idiot, who will never understand
the concept of natural and logical consequences.

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By Rodney, June 25, 2011 at 7:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s part of the Republican stratedgy to make all like
Walmart workers. With the pay and benefits. Plus they
already have the backing of the 5-4 Supreme Court. That
new legal discrimination thing seems to be working out
well for Walmart so might as well use it on teachers,
policemen and firefighters.

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By Colin Gerald, June 24, 2011 at 7:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Just exactly who was showing any mercy to the taxpayers? The military industrial complex? The CEO’s who off-shored jobs and created tax havens while only enriching themselves? The NAFTA and CAFTA creators who knew that jobs would be lost? What exactly did you get that was worth your tax money if not the roads you drive on, the teachers who teach your kids, and the firefighters and police who keep you safe? By the way, how much mercy are the oil companies showing you, to whom you likely pay as much if not more than you do in taxes?

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, June 24, 2011 at 7:02 pm Link to this comment

In a way its fair.

I mean, for the past 40 years years the Public Workers Unions certainly werent showing any mercy to the taxpayers.

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