Some of my friends from elsewhere around the country try to tell me that the pension theft that is going on in Illinois is a local issue.
The stealing of public employee pensions is a national effort calling for a national response.
Each state and municipality may have it’s own local characteristics.
In New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie is diverting state pension funds to his political cronies.
The Christie administration took money that could have been devoted to shoring up the state’s pension fund and instead used it to enrich corporate interests that finance Christie’s political infrastructure.
In response to Pando’s investigation, a spokesman for Gov. Christie, Kevin Roberts, declined to comment on the campaign contributions from companies that were awarded large contracts from the Christie administration. Regarding the refusal of the administration to fully fund the state’s pensions, he said that Christie has made “a larger cumulative total of contributions to the pension system than any other prior Governor in state history” and added that the pension system is “unsustainable and needs to be changed if we are to meet those obligations and also fund other priorities that the Governor and public support.”
Additionally, when asked about any potential connection between massive contributions to the RGA and huge New Jersey taxpayer deals to RGA contributors, RGA spokesperson Jon Thompson told Pando: “There is no connection. The RGA raises funds to elect and support Republican governors. We accept a large amount of donations from many individuals and entities across the country because they support the pro-jobs, pro-growth agendas 29 Republican governors are delivering for their states.”
Thanks for a recent change in the law, Christie will now have even more authority to raid pensions to finance such giveaways. The governor has just signed a bill which, according to the Newark Star-Ledger, “lifts limits on how much the state can give out in economic incentives to corporations and developers, and greatly expands the geographic areas where companies can qualify.” That bill to spend more on corporate subsidies is going into effect at precisely the moment Christie is now renewing his call for more cuts to public workers’ retirement benefits.
I hope my friends from around the country respond before it is too late.