*Cross posted from Teacherpensions.org’s blog.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie certainly doesn’t beat around the bush. In an interview with Jake Tapper, New Jersey Governor said he prefers to deal with bullies with a “punch in the face.” Who deserves this? The teachers’ unions, according to Christie.
While this sort of brash talk may attract attention, it isn’t good for negotiating reform. Ironically, Christie actually has a good reform proposal. Christie’s pension committee calls for a cash balance plan, a type of defined benefit plan that accrues benefits evenly rather than the bumpy accrual of the current backloaded plan. The cash balance plan would provide better benefits for early and mid-career teachers who get shortchanged by the current plan and better fiscal housekeeping for the system.
But Christie’s politics are preventing this reform from moving forward. The teachers’ unions are still fuming over the Governor’s decision to go back on his promise and shortchange the pension fund.
As Christie continues to play with fire, however, he may stymie the state’s chance for genuine reform of its pension systems.