by Heather Shupe
The topics of health care and pensions are ones that most politicians skate around, never addressing the problems dead on. Chris Daggett knows that the health care issue has become so grand that it the state’s economy has become insolvent. However, he plans on alleviating that debt and bringing New Jersey’s health care up to par. The unfunded health care benefits top $60 million while the unfunded pensions run $40 billion, not including the $38 billion state debt. The problems of health care and pensions grow every year, and each year the state government neglects to address or solve the issue. The state’s administration and other government officials have failed to fully fund health care and pension obligations. By dismissing these problems, the government puts a burden on the taxpayers and jeopardizes the future of the beneficiaries. This type of neglect and spending has to end in order for the state to begin its long journey out of debt. Daggett believes that it is time for public employees at all government levels to pay their share of these health plans. Daggett firmly believes in ending pension-padding and dual-office holding and not giving new public employees the same benefits program as the present employees. Daggett knows that these are only short-term solutions and will not fully solve the problem.
In order to achieve completely successful and working health care and pension programs, New Jersey citizens may go through a series of pay freezes or pay cuts. Workers may now have to provide a portion of their salaries to health and pension benefits, and a new type of revenue enhancement may have to be considered. The most important issue Daggett stresses is that we need to reduce our spending and fix the structural problems with the budget that cause annual billion-dollar budget deficits. Until we do, the state will not be able to solve its health-care and pension problems.
Daggett believes that the government must stop handing out a pay increase of 4 percent each year to its employees. He believes that if we follow his plan, we can restore prosperity to New Jersey. Daggett wants the voters to know that “we can do this, but it is going to take an independent governor not tied to special interests nor worried about how many seats his party will win or lose in the next election.”
Daggett believes that these health-care and pension problems can be solved, but it will take an independent governor to accomplish this, since Democrats and Republicans are “unable or unwilling to deal with these issues.”