Exchanging strong words over health care reform by ProQuest


Norman Politziner, of NJP Associates, is concerned about the fine print: 'This bill has 150 pages of needed reform and another 2,200 pages of bribes, payoffs, inside deals and who knows what else, he wrote, predicting it will increase the costs of health care and put a strain on the economy.

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									Breaching a pension promise for political gain                                                                                                                               Poll Results
in laTe 2009, when Chris Christie was a can-            workers, and their unions, and to cut benefits                                                                  The health care reform signed by Obama:
                                                                                                                        Corner              Office
didate, he made this explicit, written, signed          outside of the legal collective bargaining process.
promise to tens of thousands of firefighters and        so much for a “sacred trust.”                            Have a hard-hitting stance on a New Jersey
police officers: “The notion that i would elimi-              The gaping hole in this year’s state budget          business issue? If you are a business or
nate, change, or                                        was not made any smaller by axing public work-            policy leader with a strong opinion, we                          37.3%
alter your pension                                      ers’ pension benefits, because the changes those         want to hear from you. Please send op-ed
is not only a lie, but                                  bills make will not save the state a penny for               proposals to editorial@njbiz.com.
could not be further                                    decades, nor solve the staggering pension plan
from the truth. Your                                    shortfall going forward. in June 2008, the pension          Christie and legislators tout the pension                                 28.9%
pension and bene-                                       fund’s market value was $78.6 billion, and the         reform legislation as an effort to ensure shared
fits will be protected                                  state estimated that it had a $34 billion shortfall.   sacrifice by public workers. Yet, they have given               Is a long-overdue measure to expand
when i am elected                                       By June 2009, the fund nosedived to $62.9 billion,     up $800 million in revenue by letting a tax lapse               insurance coverage
governor.”                                              with Treasury estimates that it has $46 billion less   on our state’s wealthiest citizens. stoking jeal-               Has merit, but will be harmful to my company
      as the newly                                      than needed to meet obligations.                       ousy, the governor and legislature have shame-                  Is a noble idea, but it doesn’t solve
elected governor,                                             where does the fault lay? looking at the                                                                         underlying problems
Christie broke that               Carla Katz            reforms the governor and legislature raced to                                                                          Is yet another mandate business can’t a ord
promise with the                                        enact, you might believe that fault for the dra-         The fund is broken and out of
very first bill he signed. That must be a record.       matic underfunding of the pension funds rests           control precisely because it has
      The letters from Christie to police and fire      with so-called greedy public employees and                     not been funded.                                 Exchanging strong words
union members pledged that the pension agree-           their overly rich benefits. You would be wrong.
ment was a “sacred trust,” and assured them             fault lies squarely with the governor’s office and                                                              over health care reform
“nothing will change for the pensions of cur-           with the legislature, which over the past two          fully lambasted hard-working people in an
                                                                                                                                                                        ReadeRs aRe shaRply divided over the
rent firefighters, future firefighters or retirees in   decades unfairly refused to pay their portion of       effort to incite public fury over their presumed
                                                                                                                                                                        health care reform bill president Barack Obama
a Christie administration” and, “the claim that         pension obligations, while workers each paid           benefits. in fact, the average public employee
                                                                                                                                                                        signed into law last month, though a majority
any harm would come to your pension when i’m            every penny of what they owed. a combination           pension payout is about $23,000 a year after 25
                                                                                                                                                                        supported at least the idea of reform, even if
elected governor is absolutely untrue. it is a 100      of no, or low, state contributions; market losses;     years of service. Public employees’ secure retire-
                                                                                                                                                                        they felt this legislation misses the mark.
percent lie.” Christie went back on his written         and whimsical investment-return projections            ment depends on the funds being solvent. They,
                                                                                                                                                                              David du Pont, of HEPCO Inc., wrote,
word just two short months into his term. while         are the real culprits in this debacle.                 and their unions, have bargained a wide array of
                                                                                                                                                                        “No nation or state has ever taxed itself to
new Jersey citizens have come to expect candi-                To make things worse, as he cuts workers’        concessionary reforms to secure that end.
                                                                                                                                                                        prosperity. … We need to be making spend-
dates for public office to blur the truth line, we do   pension benefits, the governor refuses to pay                at its heart, the promise of a pension is a
                                                                                                                                                                        ing cuts, not creating new entitlements.”
not often get to see them do it in writing.             any of the $3 billion the state owes the pension       contractual promise that should be inviolable.
                                                                                                                                                                              Norman Politziner, of NJP Associates,
      The ‘pension reform’ bills Christie signed        funds this year. in one of the most ludicrous          The governor and legislature have breached that
                                                                                                                                                                        is concerned about the fine print:
into law at the end of March cut pension and            statements of this debate, Christie, in his bud-       promise for political gain in the guise of fiscal aus-
                                                                                                                                                                              “This bill has 150 pages of needed re-
health benefits for hundreds of thousands of            get speech, said, “our pension system must be          terity. Mohandas Gandhi said it best: “a breach of
                                                                                                                                                                        form and another 2,200 pages of bribes,
new Jersey workers, including firefighters, police,     reformed before we can, or should, fund a bro-         promise is a base surrender of truth.” u
                                                                                                                                                                        payoffs, inside deals and who knows what
probation officers, teachers, and state and local       ken, out-of-control system.” The fund is broken        ------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                                                                        else,” he wrote, predicting it “will increase
government workers. The governor and the leg-           and out of control precisely because it has not        Carla Katz is of counsel with Fox and Fox LLP, in
                                                                                                                                                                        the costs of health care and put a strain on
islature used the state’s economic woes, and the        been funded. Continuing that failure clearly           Livingston, and is the former president of the Com-
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