Pension Funds Sue Christie over $2.4B Cuts

Trustees of New Jersey's largest pension funds filed a lawsuit today against Gov. Chris Christie for slashing $2.4 billion in pension fund payments he promised to pay as part of a 2011 pension reform deal.
December 11, 2014 AT 10:20 AM

Trustees of New Jersey's largest pension funds filed a lawsuit today against Gov. Chris Christie for slashing $2.4 billion in pension fund payments he promised to pay as part of a 2011 pension reform deal.

The lawsuit will ask the courts to force Christie to restore the cuts. The board overseeing the Public Employees Retirement System — the largest employee pension fund — voted in June to sue Christie.

"We are saying that money is due to the fund," Tom Bruno, chairman of that fund said today. "It's not something we relish doing, but frankly it's got to be done."

"We have a fiduciary responsibility, and that is to protect the fund, as well as to collect the monies that are due to the fund," Bruno said.

The dispute stems from a 2011 deal Christie brokered with Democratic leadership in the Legislature to put the troubled system back on solid footing.

Christie agreed to increase payments into the system in return for a reform package that raised the retirement age from 62 to 65, eliminated cost-of-living increases for retirees, and required workers to contribute more toward their pensions and health benefits.

But instead of pumping in extra money, Christie grabbed $2.4 billion from pension payments to balance budgets over two years after revenue collections fell far short of projections.

The governor said there was no other choice if the state wanted avoid slashing funding to crucial programs or raising taxes instead.

View Full Story From the Newark Star-Ledger