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An ongoing discussion about conservatism in New Jersey.
The Duplicity of Teachers Unions
James D. Agresti  (March 11, 2010, 11:19 pm)

I have a great deal of respect and appreciation for many teachers, but I have the exact opposite opinion of teachers unions, and this video from the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) about the underfunding of teacher pensions is a prime example why.

For years, the NJEA (and other public-sector unions) have successfully lobbied for spending levels that have made it practically impossible to fully fund pensions, all while simultaneously complaining that the pensions are underfunded.

Their bluff, however, has been called. Right now, New Jersey has bipartisan support for a constitutional amendment that would require full funding of these pensions, but the unions are refusing to support it. Moreover, the excuses they are putting forward are transparently duplicitous.

First, the unions say this matter should not be put to a vote because it might be voted down. Yet, if this amendment fails to pass, the status quo will prevail, and government can continue making contractual obligations with unions that load the burden onto future taxpayers. The truth is that these unions are not worried about this amendment failing but passing. This is because it would require true fiscal responsibility – a genuine version of what Obama calls “PayGo”.

Second, the NJEA has condemned the amendment because it would phase in over seven years instead of becoming effective immediately. Yet, when asked if they would support an amendment requiring immediate and full funding of pensions, the NJEA refused to answer. How’s that for disingenuousness?

The NJEA is not just opposed to a gradual requirement for full funding of pensions; they oppose it completely but are not honest enough to say so. The fact is that if this amendment becomes effective immediately, it will mean cuts in union dues or tax increases (of which New Jerseyans have had enough).

Sources and Additional Reading:

N.J. public workers union leaders argue against pension ballot question

Teacher Unions Are Killing the Public Schools

Teachers Unions v. the Teachers

No recession for teachers unions