WOODBRIDGE – As members of the township’s police union protested outside, Gov. Chris Christie told a packed house at the Woodbridge Community Center that public employee pension costs are killing New Jersey’s future.
Tuesday’s town hall meeting was Christie’s ninth of the year. The governor insisted that public workers’ pensions must be reduced. “There is not an infinite amount of money,” Christie said. “I can’t print money.”
The governor told the assembled crowd that pension reform would save Woodbridge $29.3 million over the next 10 years.
Christie’s plan would increase the retirement age to 65 for current employees with less than 25 years of service and require all public employees to contribute 8.5 percent of their salary towards pension costs. All future cost of living adjustments would be eliminated for both current and future retirees.
Though Christie has stated that he supports collective bargaining rights, the New Jersey governor has been compared with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who drastically curtailed public workers’ union rights in the name of balancing the state budget.
According to New Jersey’s state treasury, pension bills for local governments are increasing 22 percent this year and are expected to go up another 8.9 percent in 2012.
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