Gov. Chris Christie came to South Jersey today for another town hall style meeting and to send several messages back to Democrats in Trenton.
Christie started off his 122nd town hall meeting by saying he was ready to take decisive action against any tax increases the Democrats who control the New Jersey Legislature might send to him, including an income tax hike for millionaires.
“Let me guarantee you what is going to happen, the same thing that has happened every time they have sent me an income tax increase in the nearly five years that I have been governor, I’m going to veto it,” he said.
Democrats are pushing the income tax hike to generate enough money to fully fund pensions.
Christie says his goal is to cut the cost of pensions, healthcare and other “entitlements.” Even after enacting state worker benefit reforms, he says savings have not added up as he had hoped. Without more benefits changes, Christie says New Jersey taxpayers would have to come up with about $1.5 billion more a year.
“How is that even possible that we can afford to do that?” he asked, “and not only everybody is it free medical care for life but the health plan is embarrassingly rich, I have the health plan and when I go into the pharmacy I’m embarrassed.”
Retired teacher Diane Pliner showed up to pressure the governor to fund pensions as required by law and give retired workers “what they have earned.”
“What the media doesn’t do is tell the public that teachers pay into their pensions in addition to paying our taxes,” Pliner said. “This is our money that we want in retirement.”
State worker unions were in court today trying to force the governor to pay the state’s full share into the pension fund.