Source: NJTV [vide] -
“I’m pleased to announce today that the commission has — with my support — reached an unprecedented accord with the NJEA,” said Gov. Chris Christie at the beginning of a budget address that even some Republicans here were fearing could mean curtains for Christie’s political fortunes. Instead, it turned out to be another case of the governor successfully changing the subject to the great consternation of his critics and maybe to the benefit of his still nascent presidential campaign.
“The governor’s good for that,” observed Republican Assemblyman Anthony Bucco. “He does a great job. He’s a great communicator.”
The report by the governor’s pension reform commission says major changes are needed to change the system from the transformational — “The road map calls for the existing pension plan to be frozen and to be replaced by a new plan. Both the existing plan and the new plan would be transferred from state ownership to a trust overseen by the NJEA” — to the constitutional — “To make sure that the state meets its obligations and the payment is enforced, a constitutional amendment would be voted on this November.”
But these are not new ideas. Some have been rattling around the State House since 2011 and ignore the major point made by a judge on Monday.
“I thought the speech was on point,” added Bucco. “I thought that the fact that the governor took a lot of time to address the pension issue was good. It’s an important issue. It’s certainly a huge issue in terms of a financial issue for New Jersey.”
For all the hand-wringing and political punditry of the last 24 hours, the fact remains that the budget process has just begun. Any number of things can, and probably will, happen between now and the end of June.