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Christie opposes new pension deferral

Gov.-elect Christopher J. Christie said today he opposes the proposed pension deferral that is being backed by a member of his transition team.

"I disagree with it," Christie said at a news conference in which he announced his nominee for attorney general.

The pension deferral, proposed by Hudson County Democrat Sen. Sandra Cunningham, would let towns skip half of their pension payments this year. It would save money in the short-term, easing pressure on property taxes and service cuts, but would add to long-term costs and further weaken the state's already shaky pension funds.

Gov. Corzine allowed a similar deferral in the previous budget, but Christie criticized the move during the recent governor's race. Cunningham is now a member of Christie's transition team, but the incoming governor said that doesn't mean he supports this idea.

"I don't agree with everything that everyone around me proposes, but I think that's one of the strengths you'll see in this administration," Christie said. "I pick quality people, and sometimes, quality, right thinking people will have differences of opinion."

Cunningham said officials in Jersey City, which she represents, fear tax increases if they don't receive the proposed fiscal relief.

"The word 'taxes' and 'raising taxes' is a lot for the people I represent," she said.

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