Wednesday, February 24, 2010

States forced to address public employee pension reform

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DENVER — Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter on Tuesday signed a bill that cuts state employee retiree benefits to prevent the pension system from going broke.

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In the past, the (New Jersey) unions yawned as smaller-government conservatives railed at government worker pensions. But this time, Democrats led the charge, and not just any Democrats, but those who double as union members. It made you wonder if the vote was held in a right-to-work state like Georgia, not New Jersey.

Union members

Newly elected Democratic Sen. Donald Norcross, a Camden County union leader, defended the bills as a necessary stopgap to restore the pension system's long-term solvency. Peering down at him from the podium was his ally, Democratic Senate President Stephen Sweeney, a union ironworker with the torso of a forklift.