In addition to creating yet another great video, New Jersey governor Chris Christie has secured a deal with Democrats in the legislature to reform public worker pension and health benefits.
The deal was struck Wednesday, and a senate committee has approved a bill that is expected to be raised in both houses of the legislature next week.
The Heritage Foundation’s James Sherk has the highlights of the bill over at the Corner:
Under the plan:
● State and local employees will have to contribute more for their health benefits, up to 35 percent of premiums for the highest-paid workers;
● The retirement age for government employees will rise to 65;
● State and local workers will have to contribute 1.5 percent more of their salary toward their pension; and
● Cost-of-living increases for the state pension plan will be frozen until it is actuarially sound.
This agreement will save New Jersey taxpayers billions of dollars in the coming decades. It is excellent policy.
Provided the bill gets through the legislature, it will represent a major achievement for Christie. Last year he was justly applauded for balancing the state’s budget, against all odds, without raising taxes. However, that budget did not address the larger structural deficits facing the state, and it also was made possible because Christie skipped a scheduled payment to the state workers’ pension fund. This bill addresses those remaining problems.