The Big Man is going face-to-face with the New Jersey Educator's Union, and daring them to live up to their words:
Gov. Christie says he will take the teachers union at its word that it’s all about the children. Speaking to a Gannett New Jersey Newspapers editorial board, the governor said, “I’m going to take them at their word that it’s all about the kids.” He added, “Well, if it’s all about the children, then step up to the plate.” Christie suggested teachers do their part by accepting a pay freeze and contribute 1.5 percent of salary toward health benefits. He said that would save $800 million and nearly make up for the cuts in school aid.
How did the NJEU reply? After it sh*t its collective pants, the union president, Barbara Keshishian, said Christie should extend the now-expired income tax surcharge on individuals making more than $400,000 a year.
Raise taxes. Yeah, Barb, that'll go over well, especially with a state that has lost billions of dollars in wealth as residents have fled across the Delaware to take up residence in PA.
Christie wasn't done throwing down gauntlets, though. He pointed out how the union could make the 1.5% contribution to their HC plans easier to swallow:
He also said the teachers union, NJEA, could waive the union dues for teachers for a year — each member pays about $730 a year — and that would cancel out what teachers are being asked to pay for health care benefits....
In Ramsey the governor told 101.5 FM’s David Matthau: “I’d like to know what the NJEA is spending $130 million on – which is the amount of money they collect every year in dues from their members – I’d like them – if they really think they’re serving the public – to open their books – open their books to scrutiny… if they really care about transparency and openness, and it’s for the children, open your books and let the public see what you spend this money on.”
Those books, Mr. Christie, are ones that are never meant to be read. At least not by the likes of you and me...and that $130 million? It's what allowed them to hold the politicians of the state by their collective balls for the last twenty years. Guess that kind of money doesn't go as far as it used to...or just isn't enough to convince people to vote Democratic, and commit economic suicide...
But Chris Christie has just tossed the teachers into the hole they dug for themselves. If it's really all about the children, then accept the pay freeze, and fork over a measly $65-/month pre-tax towards your health care. Hey, it's much less of a bite than the private sector employees has to take, and you're still getting a' pension that you are contributing next to nothing for, so...what's the freakin' problem?
It's either all about the kids...or it's all about yourselves. Now you have to choose, in front of the entire state, and be true to your word or be forever exposed as hypocrites. What's it gonna be?
Incidentally...Christie's a genius.