Chris Christie on Social Security


State pensions cut by $120B; but $90B still to go

We defied the conventional wisdom and reduced the cost [of state pensions] to taxpayers by over $120 billion over the next three decades. Today, the health of the pension system is stronger than it was 5 years ago. In fact, gains have totaled over $35 billion--which is way above projections--thanks to our sound management and smart investment strategy.

But the pension fund's problem is a long-term one. Right now the $90 billion unfunded liability for pensions and health benefits is three times the size of the annual state budget. Think of this way--in order to close the current shortfall in just the pension system alone every family in New Jersey would have to write a check for $12,000.

That is the nature of long-term entitlements which grow faster than the economy, and in that regard our problem here in New Jersey is not that different from Washington's entitlement problem. Last summer I appointed a pension and health benefits task force--to think outside the box, and they are hard at work.

Source: State of the State address to 2015 New Jersey Legislature , Jan 13, 2015

Pension reform: raise retirement age, suspend COLAs

Our pension system, which was on a path to insolvency, is now on much more sound footing. We tackled the problem head on--modestly raising the retirement age, reducing incentives for early retirement, suspending COLAs until the plan is 80% funded, and yes, asking for something slightly closer to market in terms of employee contributions.

In total, the pension and health benefits reform package that you passed will save taxpayers over $120 billion over the next 30 years. Just as importantly, it will help make sure the pension is actually there when our public employees and school teachers retire. Other states have noticed: this reform is becoming a model for America.

When we combine this needed discipline on spending and taxes, with responsibility in addressing our long-term liabilities, with pro-growth actions on the regulatory side, we have made New Jersey a better place to do business.

Source: N.J. 2013 State of the State Address , Jan 8, 2013

We're in trouble due to overspending on entitlement programs

Q: Why do you think America got itself into such a terrible mess economically? What do you think was the problem?

A: Greed. And because no one wanted to tell anybody the truth. The truth was you can't continue to spend the kind of money our spending on all these entitlement programs. I think we need more people in public life who are willing to say no, we can't afford certain things, no we can't do certain things, we've got to wind up being honest with people. I think we got ourselves in this mess because some people in the financial industry became incredibly short-sighted and greedy and we had government officials who refused to say no.

Source: Interview on CNN "Piers Morgan Tonight" , Jun 15, 2011

Raise the retirement age, and limit COLA, for state workers

We must modestly raise the retirement age in an era of longer life expectancy. We must curb the effect of COLAs in a time of low or no inflation. And we must ensure a modest but acceptable contribution from employees toward their own retirement system. Without reform, the problem we face is simple: Benefits are too rich, and contributions are too small, and the system is on a path to bankruptcy.
Source: 2011 N.J. State of the State Address , Jan 11, 2011

Other governors on Social Security: Chris Christie on other issues:
NJ Gubernatorial:
Barbara Buono
Cory Booker
NJ Senatorial:
Cory Booker
Frank Pallone
Jeff Bell
Jeff Chiesa
Murray Sabrin
Robert Menendez
Rush Holt
Steve Lonegan

Gubernatorial Debates 2014:
AL: Bentley(R) vs.Griffith(D)
AR: Ross(D) vs.Hutchinson(R) vs.Griffin(R,Lt.Gov.)
AZ: Ducey(R) vs.DuVal(D) vs.Mealer(AE) vs.Gilbert(L) vs.Riggs(R)
CA: Brown(D) vs.Kashkari(R)
CO: Hickenlooper(D) vs.Beauprez(R) vs.Tancredo(R) vs.Hess(L)
CT: Malloy(D) vs.Foley(R) vs.Walker(R,Lt.Gov.)
FL: Scott(R) vs.Crist(D) vs.Snitker(L,Lt.Gov.)
GA: Deal(R) vs.Carter(D) vs.Hunt(L)
HI: Ige(D) vs.Aiona(R) vs.Abercrombie(D)
IA: Branstad(R) vs.Hatch(D) vs.Hoefling(R)
MA: Coakley(D) vs.Baker(R) &Polito(R,Lt.Gov.) vs.Grossman(D) vs.Berwick(D)
ME: LePage(R) vs.Michaud(D) vs.Cutler(I)
MI: Snyder(R) vs.Schauer(D)
NM: Martinez(R) vs.King(D)
NY: Cuomo(D) &Hochul(D,Lt.Gov.) vs.Astorino(R) vs.Hawkins(G) vs.Teachout(D)
OK: Fallin(R) vs.Dorman(D)
PA: Corbett(R) vs.Wolf(D) vs.Schwartz(D,lost primary) vs.Critz(D,Lt.Gov.,lost primary)
Newly-elected 2014:
AK-I: Bill Walker
AR-R: Asa Hutchinson
AZ-R: Doug Ducey
IL-R: Bruce Rauner
MA-R: Charlie Baker
MD-R: Larry Hogan
NE-R: Pete Ricketts
PA-D: Tom Wolf
RI-D: Gina Raimondo
TX-R: Greg Abbott

Up for re-election 2014:
AK-R: Sean Parnell
AL-R: Robert Bentley
CA-D: Jerry Brown
CO-D: John Hickenlooper
CT-D: Dan Malloy
FL-R: Rick Scott
GA-R: Nathan Deal
HI-D: Neil Abercrombie
IA-R: Terry Branstad
ID-R: Butch Otter
IL-D: Pat Quinn
KS-R: Sam Brownback
ME-R: Paul LePage
MI-R: Rick Snyder
MN-D: Mark Dayton
NH-D: Maggie Hassan
NM-R: Susana Martinez
NV-R: Brian Sandoval
NY-D: Andrew Cuomo
OH-R: John Kasich
OK-R: Mary Fallin
OR-D: John Kitzhaber
PA-R: Tom Corbett
SC-R: Nikki Haley
SD-R: Dennis Daugaard
TN-R: Bill Haslam
VT-D: Peter Shumlin
WI-R: Scott Walker
WY-R: Matt Mead
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Term-Limited or Retiring 2014:
AR-D: Mike Beebe
AZ-R: Jan Brewer
MA-D: Deval Patrick
MD-D: Martin O'Malley
RI-I: Linc Chafee
TX-R: Rick Perry

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Page last updated: Jan 19, 2015