Monday, June 20, 2011

Heckuva Job, New Jersey Dems

What's the opposite of the courage shown by the Wisconsin State Democrats? I'd go with this:
TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie and leading legislators ended months of negotiations tonight by announcing an agreement to roll back pension and health benefits for public employees.

Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-Essex) have bucked members of their party by pushing forward with the plan, a signature issue of the governor’s, angering public employee unions that have long allied themselves with Democrats.

Christie, who announced the agreement to a standing ovation while addressing a room full of business executives in Plainsboro tonight, thanked the legislative leaders for their work.
Although in fairness, not all their Democrats suck, just the ones running the show:
The agreement did not go down easy with all of the Legislature’s top Democrats, including Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Cryan (D-Union), who emphasized that Oliver didn’t have a majority of Assembly Democrats on board.

"For those of us who haven’t sold out our party, we decline to accept. And for those of us who work for a living, we decline to agree," Cryan said in a telephone interview. "The Speaker doesn’t have the majority of her own caucus, and as the majority leader, I say she shouldn’t put it up. And as for the rest of us, we all want health care. We all believe in a better life for us and our children. And how terrible it is that the Democratic Party today chose to take a different path."

The legislation would force public employees to pay more for their pensions and health benefits and push back their retirement age. Although Christie and top Republicans have long pushed similar changes, tonight’s statement was their first public acknowledgment that they would back the Democrat-authored compromise legislation.
New Jersey's situation is particularly absurd, since the pension fund is in trouble because... *wait for it* the state stopped paying into it. And Governor Christie had a chance to pass a millionaires' tax to stop the shortfall, and didn't do it, because why do that when you can balance the budget on the backs of the state's super-rich teachers, firefighters and librarians.

I'd hope NJ's unions would draw a line in the sand and actively go against anyone who backs this deal in the next election, but we'll see. In a union dense state like New Jersey that could really make a difference, and it's the least they deserve.

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