On Tuesday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) proposed a budget that would dramatically cut teachers’ and other public employees’ retirement and health benefits, while doubling the middle-class property tax rebate. The budget reforms would cost teachers over $12,000 per year.
Barbara Keshishian, president of the New Jersey Education Association, clarified, “In this budget, the governor continues to scapegoat public education employees… He promises to make a legally required $500 million contribution to the pension system, but only if teachers and school employees pay thousands more out of their salaries – on top of their current contributions.”
Governor Christie’s proposal would force public workers to pay for 30 percent of their health insurance costs, an increase from the 8 percent that they currently pay. Christie has also proposed to alter the state’s pension system by increasing the retirement age and offering workers smaller payouts.
Christie’s budget proposal is yet another attack on public workers around the country. The New Jersey AFL-CIO announced that it will stage a rally tomorrow in Trenton in support of public workers in Wisconsin. Yesterday, tens of thousands of protestors marched to the state capitols in Indianapolis, IN and Columbus, OH to oppose proposed Republican bills that challenge public workers’ collective bargaining rights. In Wisconsin, union supporters are camping out in the Capitol rotunda and tens of thousand are gathering daily.