The US Supreme Court has stated that it will not preside over the legal dispute between New Jersey public labor unions and Governor Chris Christie. The battle over the state pension system dates back to a law signed in 2011, which contractually obligated the state to make pension fund contributions in exchange for government employees paying more towards their pensions.
Christie kept to the terms of the contract for the first few years, but in 2014 he slashed funding for pensions. For the next two years, the state paid less than 30% of what was required under the 2011 law and the 2017 budget proposed by Christie includes pension fund contributions amounting to only 40% of the state’s contractual obligation. As it currently stands, New Jersey pensions are projected to run out of funds by the year 2024.
Labor unions challenged Christie’s decision to cut billions of dollars in payments, but were unsuccessful. The New Jersey Supreme Court upheld Christie’s right to cut the pension payments and the unions filed an appeal. However, the US Supreme Court, which agrees to hear only 75 to 80 out of the 10,000 cases presented to it each year, declined to take the case.
Without a Supreme Court hearing, labor unions are instead asking for a constitutional amendment that guarantees pension funding. Democrats have already proposed such an amendment for the November voting ballot that would require payments on a quarterly basis. However, only New Jersey voters, and not legislators, could approve a pension reform plan through a constitutional amendment.
For help with a legal issue in New Jersey, contact the Rosenblum Law Firm for assistance. Call 888-815-3649 for a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney.