Thursday, June 12, 2014

Chris Christie’s faltering pension reform in New Jersey

By Charles Lane, WashPost, Published: June 11

The conventional wisdom about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s political fortunes is that he still has a shot at the 2016 Republican presidential nomination — if he can just get past Bridgegate, the scandal over his aides’ allegedly politically motivated partial closure of the George Washington Bridge last year.

In that regard, Christie’s fortunes have arguably improved since the memorable January news conference in which he condemned his aides but denied advance knowledge of their wrongdoing. No one has yet produced a “smoking gun” to disprove his version; polls still put him in the top tier of GOP contenders; and he’s resumed fund-raising for Republican candidates in 2014, with an itinerary that includes Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Alas for Christie, his problems go deeper than Bridgegate: Specifically, he’s governor of a state that may not actually be governable.

Estimated at $46.4 billion by Pew Research, New Jersey’s unfunded pension liability is one of the worst in the nation on a per-capita basis, the product of decades of political log-rolling in which elected officials promised government employees generous benefits but declined to cut spending or raise taxes enough to pay for them.

(More here.)

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