March 1, 2011

JUST A QUESTION OF HOW MUCH:

New Jersey public workers in eye of benefit-cut storm (Cynthia Burton, 2/28/11, Philadelphia Inquirer)

Within 15 minutes, Gov. Christie had a crowd of about 400 applauding as he talked about a "dumb" pension hike and "Cadillac" health care for public workers.

He noted again and again that those were benefits many in the group didn't have but were financing with their taxes in a state on the brink.

As potent as his comments were for the group, his words were directed mostly at an audience of one: New Jersey Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney, who will play a pivotal role in negotiating the state's $29.4 billion budget. [...]

In his budget address last Tuesday, Christie said that if the Democratic-controlled Legislature agreed to health-care concessions, he would give people earning less than $75,000 a property-tax credit - a direct appeal to middle- and working-class voters to pressure the Legislature.

Sweeney and Christie already agree that public employees should pay more for their pension and health-care benefits. They disagree on how much.

The fact, though, that they've both made proposals without negotiating with the public-employee unions has some Democrats and union leaders scratching their heads because Sweeney is a business agent for Ironworkers Local 399.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 1, 2011 6:48 AM
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