In pension amendment fight, GOP needs to take its gloves off

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

I heard a lot of common sense coming from the floor during Monday night’s marathon floor debate, Save Jerseyans.

“We are now placing handcuffs on a legislature that years from now, giving them no flexibility,” GOP Leader Jon Branmick asked rhetorically in his remarks below, criticizing the Democrats’ proposed amendment which, if approved by voters this fall, will constitutionally-mandate annual pension payments. “How can we possibly anticipate what that legislature might find in the economy or revenues? And now, we have mandated an amount of money.”

Watch:

What I didn’t hear from many of the Republicans who spoke?

Anger, for starters. There were even some calls for Democrats to negotiate in good faith, and in at least one instance, a vocalized assumption that the amendment was well-intentioned (?), but no one said the obvious in direct, passionate terms: there is not a G-dman thing that’s remotely good faith or well-intentioned about any of this bullshit.

Four current GOP Assembly members will be gone very shortly because, as defeated Asw. Mary Pat Angelini explained in a recent guest op-ed, the public sector unions bought the last election

And they readily admit it. In a celebratory statement released after the amendment cleared, NJEA Secretary-Treasurer Sean M. Spiller said, “These were important votes, but we know we still have a long road ahead of us. We need the next legislature to affirm this action.” He’s confident because his union – through its massive campaign investmentsowns the next legislature. Outright, in a brazen manner capable of making Mr. Smith Goes to Washington‘s Jim Taylor blush. Seriously. Vince Prieto can’t use the bathroom without someone from the teacher’s union giving him a hall pass.

McGreevey and Corzine

Democrats aren’t trying to fix the pension system. This is the political equivalent of a prostitute kicking back to the pimp.

So why are we so worried about adopting a “reasonable” tone when the other side isn’t even hiding its attempts to rig elections? Anyone??

People don’t vote for “reasonable,” by the way, something I’ve been shouting in the darkness for years. Look at the battleground state polls and tell Mr. Trump or Senator Sanders about the electorate’s appetite for sobriety in the public discourse.

A closer-to-home example: in 2009, Chris Christie told the NJEA leadership where to stick it when he skipped their convention and authored a direct letter to the membership. “It’s true that times are tough. But the truth is that Jon Corzine has handed the NJEA and every student a ticking time bomb in this year’s budget. He has funded the new school aid formula with $1 billion in one-shot revenue that will disappear next year,” Christie explained. Every school budget and academic, athletic, and extra-curricular program for our kids is at risk because of the Governor’s reckless, short-sighted policy. Governor Corzine has refused to make the tough decisions required to make sure we make education funding a priority for recurring revenue and to avoid the ticking time bomb.”

Anger is what’s reasonable right now provided its articulate and directed at the right people.

A handful of liberal Republicans, a small army of Machine Democrats, and the fat-and-happy union bosses who own them broke the pension system. Not you, or me, or George Bush and Chris Christie. Victory in 2017 can start with someone, rocking an ‘R’ after his or her surname, who’s willing to call all of this for what it is.

More sights and sounds from the GOP’s floor debate are below the fold…

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17 thoughts on “In pension amendment fight, GOP needs to take its gloves off

  1. The only place where I disagree is the notion that in this case there is a difference between a “sober” and “reasonable” response and anger. Anger is the reasonable response here. The inebriated response would be to pipe down and sleep through this in a corner. Which seems to be not only an option but the likely game plan from the opposition party. No right thinking person believes that our states way of funding education primarily through property taxes had been a boon for the state. This new plan of constitutionally guaranteeing tax raises on everyone to give politicians cover for any promise they make is even more nuts than how we fund education. It’s a high bar, but they cleared it. If an opposition party let’s that happen without a fight, does this state really have a position party?

  2. They need to work together to bring in new, fresh Industry, Money and Jobs into the State and reorganize Counties to stop redundant services and save money too! Unannounced SWAT like Financial Audit Teams are a good idea to stop waste and corruption!

  3. A quibble or two:

    first, when a government makes a contract, it MUST pay ALL of the costs attendant thereto during the term of that contract. When you make a future benefit promise, you either set money aside today to pay for that cost, or effectively create a debt, which our kids will end up paying. (While there is some authority that promised contractual benefits do not survive the end of the contract, that would turn the contract into a fraud.) So, the simple fact is that when government makes a spending promise, in a contract, that promise SHOULD “handcuff” the government. What other choice exists?

    I proposed amendments which would compel the state to meet its contractual obligations without increasing spending and without increase taxes. If that causes pain, so be it. Budgeting ALWAYS causes pain, in the sense that people who want other people’s money can’t spend as much of it as they like. But if we acknowledge that our contracts mean something, that they will be enforced, SOMEONE is going to have to endure the pain. As long as that someone isn’t the taxpayers, I’m fine with it.

    Second, Mary Pat is incorrect; NJEA money didn’t buy the election. NJEA turnout did. EVERY public employee went to the polls and voted for candidates pledged to raise other people’s taxes to the extent necessary to pay benefit costs. In short, they acted like typical Democrats, voting themselves other people’s money. Unlike welfare recipients, these folks have a point. Promises were made; promises continue to be made. In my view, the only way to restore some measure of sanity is to compel the people to live with the consequences of the promises being made in their names. That will, inevitably, mean fewer (but better paid) cops, fewer teachers, fewer public employees generally. Because we simply have more government than we can afford.

    If the people want something different, they sure as hell didn’t demonstrate it last November. Perhaps, when the consequences of kowtowing to special interest demands starts hitting them in the face, people will be motivated to actually turn out to vote. As long as we keep deferring meeting our obligations, the electorate feels no pain, so it ignores the problem. Forcing the people to pay for the government they seem to want will, I think, compel them to reassess whether they really want it.

  4. I like how one of them says he would’ve been all for this if he was in office 15 years ago since it made sense back then. At this point we rank 50th in economic outlook and had our credit rating dropped 9 times. We can’t afford $5 billion payments now or in 5 years.

  5. I have zero confidence, that either party has the will, or the ability, to tackle difficult problems. I have never seen a more inept group in a single profession in my life And they all take their lead from Christie, who is nothing more than hot air, empty promises and phony rhetoric !

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