Christie will spend summer pushing pension reforms
Fresh off vetoing proposed new taxes out of the state budget, Gov. Chris Christie talked about New Jersey's pension issues on CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Tuesday morning and says he will spend the summer pushing reforms.
Christie admitted he thought a "tipping point" in which more was being paid to retirees rather than active employees was a year away instead of now. He placed blame on the state's "revenue problem" and the "sins of his predecessors" who he says did not make pension payments for the past 20 years.
As part of the newly signed budget, a $681 million payment was made to the pension system, less than the $2 billion Christie promised in his State of the State address. He is not concerned about the effect the smaller payment will have on the state's credit rating because he doesn't "put a lot of stock in credit agencies."
The governor defended taking increased taxes out of the budget. "I have a constitutional requirement to balance the budget and I have a state that's already high-taxed and I'm not going to raise taxes on the people in the state of New Jersey and drive more people out," he told the show's round table of hosts.
Christie says he will be making the argument "in stark, plain, understandable terms" all summer that the pension system needs to be fixed "or it will eat us alive," forcing residents and businesses out of the state.
Christie insists he is "not running for anything at the moment" and is focused on New Jersey.
Christie did not offer an opinion on Monday's Supreme Court ruling exempting companies with religious objections from providing contraceptives under Obamacare
"The point is: Why should I give an opinion as to whether they were right or wrong?" he continued. "At the end of the day, they did what they did. That's now the law of the land."
- Fiscal woes could 'eat us alive', says New Jersey Gov Christie / CNBC
- Christie defends NJ budget, talks pension reform on CNBC / Star Ledger