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‘Sue Me’ Over Pension Cuts?

By Pension Pulse on 02/02/2011 – 7:45 pm PSTLeave a Comment

Darrell Preston of Bloomberg reports, Christie Says ‘Sue Me’ as Pensioners Challenge Cuts:

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said he doesn’t mind breaking promises to pensioners to close a $10.5 billion budget deficit — even if they sue.

“I have bigger issues than who sues me,” said Christie, 48, a Republican and former federal prosecutor who wants to end cost-of-living increases for retirees. “Get in line.”

Public workers in Colorado, South Dakota and Minnesota are already suing their states, which are among 18 that want to pare pension costs by increasing employee contributions, raising the retirement age or curbing cost-of-living increases.

“We believe it’s unconstitutional,” said Gary Justus, 63, a retired mathematics teacher in the Denver public schools who’s a plaintiff in the Colorado suit. “These are contracts that I and 100,000 other retirees worked for.”

U.S. cities, counties and states face a $3.6 trillion gap between their pension assets and what they’ve promised retirees, according to a study by Robert Novy-Marx of the University of Rochester and Joshua Rauh at Northwestern University. States must also contend with $140 billion of budget deficits next fiscal year, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington research group.

Pressured to cut spending and not raise taxes, public officials are focusing on pensions, said Ron Snell, senior fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures. State plans cover 24 million active and retired workers, according to the Denver-based organization, about 8 percent of the U.S. population of 309 million in 2010

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Tags: , former federal prosecutor, Jan, national conference of state legislatures, ,

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