N.J. High Court sides with Christie on pension COLA payments

By The Staff | The Save Jersey Blog

piggy bankIt’s a win for the Christie Administration, Save Jerseyans.

On Thursday, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that retired New Jersey public employees do not have a contractual right to receive cost-of-living (or “COLA”) adjustments. You can click here to read the full opinion.

“Regardless of the merits of petitioner’s claims, the creation of legislation is an essential function of the Legislature, so that sovereign immunity bars the equitable estoppel claim,” explained the majority.

“Here, as in all cases, equity follows the law. Because we have determined that the non-forfeitable right statute does not guarantee COLAs, we decline to provide a remedy in equity that is not available under the law.”

The decision will spare the cash-strapped state billions of dollars.

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling reminds us that the responsibility for resolving the state’s pension crisis rests with Gov. Christie, lawmakers and stakeholders,” AFP State Director Erica Jedynak stated in response to the High Court’s ruling. “It is time for all parties to set aside their differences, come to the table, and address this problem in a responsible way; and certainly not through dangerous constitutional amendments which threaten draconian tax increases on New Jersey families. It’s long past time for real leadership from Trenton on this issue. The future of our state depends on it.”

Governor Christie suspended the COLA payments as part of his 2011 pension reforms.