If NJ Assembly Approves Christie’s Pension Plan, Teachers Will Pay More Than Millionaires Were Asked To Pay

Should teachers really have to pay more than millionaires?

Earlier this week, despite raucous protests from Main Street New Jerseyans, the New Jersey Senate — thanks to the defection of eight Democrats who sided with the GOP — passed S-2937, a bill Gov. Chris Christie (R) backs that would ask the state’s half a million public employees to pay dramatically more for their health care and pension costs and limit the ability of public employees to negotiate over their health care packages.

Today, the New Jersey Assembly is expected to vote on its version of the bill. Speaking to the New York Times about the bill, Bob Master, who is the political director at the Communications Workers of America, District 1, noted that the bill would perversely ask teachers to pay more than upper-income earners were asked to pay in a tax that was rescinded in 2010:

Bob Master, political director of the Communications Workers of America, District 1, which represents most state workers, points to the inverted math. Under the tax surcharge rescinded in 2010, a couple who made $750,000 would have paid about $4,800 a year, or slightly less than a teacher making $65,000 will be forced to pay in higher health care and pension payments under the new plan.

Indeed, the so-called “millionaire’s tax,” which New Jersey eliminated in 2010, increased taxes for upper-income earners by less than 2 percent, and the number of millionaires in the state actually grew while the tax was in effect. But it now appears that New Jersey is on the path to demand that teachers and other hard-working public workers pay more of their income for health care and pension plans — 5 to 10 percent by some estimates — than the state’s richest had to pay under the now-expired tax.