Mercer County Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson has ruled in favor of public employee unions, ordering New Jersey to make a full payment in the state’s pensions system.
Communications Workers of America New Jersey Director Hetty Rosenstein said Jacobson’s order requires the state to pay about $1.5 billion for the current fiscal year and several billion more in the budget year that begins in July.
She called it “a huge victory for the unions” that will save the pension system.
The unions sued the state for payment last year after Gov. Chris Christie withheld state payments to the pension system to balance the budget.
Monday’s ruling is a major blow for Christie and could force big changes in the state budget late in the fiscal year. The state government is expected to appeal.
“Once again, liberal judicial activism rears its head with the court trying to replace its own judgment for the judgment of the people who were elected to make these decisions. This budget was passed by the legislature and signed by the governor with a pension payment,” said Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak.
Chrisitie “will continue to work on a practical solution to New Jersey’s pension and health benefits problems while he appeals this decision to a higher court where we are confident the judgment of New Jersey’s elected officials will be vindicated,” Drewniak’s statement continued.
Christie, who is preparing a presidential campaign, said reducing payments last year and this year was the only reasonable way for the state to balance its budgets after tax revenue fell short of expectations last year.
The governor is scheduled to deliver his annual budget address Tuesday