The Latest: Christie calls pension ruling win for taxpayers

AP News
|
Posted: Jun 09, 2016 5:03 PM

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The Latest on the New Jersey Supreme Court upholding a 2011 law that suspended public pension cost-of-living payments (all times local):

5 p.m.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is calling a state Supreme Court ruling upholding cuts to public pensioners' cost-of-living payments a "major victory" for state taxpayers.

The Republican governor said Thursday that the decision spares residents the burden of "unaffordable" benefit increases and avoids roughly $17.5 billion in costs.

The court on Thursday delivered a victory Christie when it ruled New Jersey does not owe public-sector retirees cost-of-living payments suspended under a 2011 law. It effectively keeps the state from having its unfunded liability grow by about $17.5 billion.

The case reaches back to a nearly 5-year-old law passed by a Democrat-led Legislature and signed by Christie that suspended cost-of-living adjustments.

___

11:10 a.m.

A credit rating agency says the New Jersey Supreme Court ruling that upholds cuts to public pensioners' cost-of-living payments removes a major threat to the state's fiscal stability.

The court on Thursday gave a win to Republican Gov. Chris Christie and ruled New Jersey does not owe public-sector retirees cost-of-living payments suspended under a 2011 law. It effectively keeps the state from having its unfunded liability increased by about $17.5 billion.

Moody's said Thursday the decision eliminates a significant threat to the state's fiscal stability, which is already challenged by narrow cash reserves and growing pension costs.

The agency also pointed out in a statement that the state's finances have been more stable in recent years, but that targeted reserves of $550 million don't leave much cushion against volatility.

____

11:05 a.m.

The head of New Jersey's largest teacher's union says a state Supreme Court ruling upholding the suspension of cost-of-living payments to pensioners is "theft, plain and simple."

The court delivered a victory Thursday to Republican Gov. Chris Christie and ruled the state does not owe public pensioners cost-of-living payments suspended under a 2011 law. It effectively keeps the state from having its unfunded liability increased by about $17.5 billion.

New Jersey Education Association President Wendell Steinhauer says the decision takes away members' promised payments and reinforces the need to pass a constitutional amendment that would require quarterly pension payments.

The Democrat-led Legislature is advancing the amendment, which could be on the ballot this November.

Christie opposes the pension amendment and regularly locks horns with the NJEA over pensions.

___

10 a.m.

The New Jersey Supreme Court has delivered a victory to Republican Gov. Chris Christie and ruled the state does not owe public pensioners cost-of-living payments suspended under a 2011 law.

The 6-1 ruling effectively keeps the state from having its unfunded liability increased by about $17.5 billion and is the second significant victory for Christie over public unions on the pension issue.

Justice Jaynee LaVecchia, writing for the majority, reversed an appellate court's ruling and said there isn't enough proof that lawmakers intended to create non-forfeitable right to cost-of-living adjustments.

The court heard oral arguments in March in the case that reaches back to a nearly 5-year-old law passed by a Democrat-led Legislature and signed by Christie that suspended cost-of-living adjustments or COLAs.