Gov. Christie: Taxpayers Are Not 'Money Trees'

Friday, 25 Mar 2011 02:23 PM

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On the day when one poll showed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is the favorite of Republican primary voters, he continued his tough, straight-talk speech during his 10th town hall meeting, the Nutley Sun reported Friday.

chirstie, taxpayers, money, treesHe focused on the state’s budget shortfall, teacher tenure, and pension reform during the meeting.

The past decade of budgeting has been akin to the government taking money from tax payers whenever it needed it, like if they were a “money tree,” he said. That has left the state with a $70 billion budget shortfall.

Christie pushed through reforms requiring state workers paying 1.5 percent more for their health insurance.

"Reforming pension and health benefits is the ticket to long-term fiscal stability," Christie said.

New Jersey is paying $4.3 billion in benefits for current and retired employees, and the public pension system is about $45 billion underfunded, Christie said. That system would likely be broke by 2020, he said.

He has proposed a number of changes, including increasing the retirement age, and requiring state employee put more money toward their pensions.

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