Governor Christie Wants A Constitutional Amendment
Governor Christie is furious after a state judge ruled members of the judiciary should not be forced to contribute more for their pension and health benefits.
During a news conference at the statehouse, Christie said this is question of whether judges should be treated like every other public employee, or "as a special class of privileged citizens who don't have to pay their fair share."
He says the average public employee salary - which includes police officers, firefighters teachers, local and county workers - is 56 thousand, 700 dollars, but "the average judicial salary is 166 thousand dollars - a hundred and 10 thousand dollars more than the average public employee."
Christie points out before pension and health benefit reforms were enacted over the summer judges contributed only 3 percent of their salary annually for their lifetime benefits and retirement- compared to 5 ½ percent and more for other public employees - and it's outrageous that judges don't want to pay their fair share -and want to be kept at a 3 percent pension and benefit contribution level.
He days the average judge "now gets 107 thousand dollars per year in retirement - while the average public employee makes 56 thousand dollars a year while working…judges - over their career - contribute 59 thousand 300 dollars for retirement benefits that cost an average - over their lifetime - of 2-point-3 million dollars."
The Governor points out the money they contribute to their pension and benefit package is less than 10 percent of what taxpayers wind up shelling out to pay for their retirement -while police and firefighters pay in excess of 50 percent of the cost of their retirement to taxpayers- so the inequity in this system is very apparent in the numbers.
He also says under the current system "judges can retire with 75 percent of their last salary after 10 years of service - 10 years! That is a fraction of what the normal public worker has to put in, in order for them to take an even lesser percentage out when they retire - of a smaller salary…this is a definition of a broken pension system - and the taxpayers are going to be forced to pick up the tab…I look forward to being able to go all across the state talking to regular New Jerseyans, and showing them these numbers and asking them what they is fair - what do they think is just?...apparently members of the judiciary believe that the privilege of serving is not nearly enough - that you also have to be able to get lavish benefits for nearly no cost, and stick the taxpayers at the same time, to make it worth their while…I'm not going stand for it as long as I'm here."