After just two years of making contributions to the state’s pension funds, Gov. Chris Christie apparently will be closing in on the total amount contributed by his five predecessors during a 15-year period.
Well, that’s at least what one state assemblyman claimed in a recent TV appearance.
With a combined pension contribution of nearly $1.6 billion over two fiscal years, Christie is on track to contribute 75 percent of the total state contribution made between 1995 and 2010, according to state Assemblyman Gary Chiusano (R-Sussex).
Chiusano made that claim during a Feb. 26 interview on My9 News’ "New Jersey Now," when he appeared with Assemblyman Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson). The week before, the Republican governor unveiled his fiscal year 2013 budget, which includes a nearly $1.1 billion pension contribution.
"Assemblyman Prieto is correct in terms of us funding the pensions by $1.1 billion, actually. And combine that with the contribution last year, the total…contribution by this Legislature and this governor is $1.6 billion," Chiusano told host Brenda Blackmon.
"Brenda, that's 75 percent of the total contribution made between the years 1995 and 2010," Chiusano continued. "That's right, in 15 years, total state contribution was only $2.1 billion."
PolitiFact New Jersey found that Chiusano needs to check his math, because he’s off by about $1.3 billion.
Chiusano acknowledged in an e-mail that he mistakenly used the contributions made by former Gov. Jon Corzine to represent all of the contributions during that 15-year period.
"You are correct. The figure I was using as a Grand Total was in fact a Sub Total," Chiusano told us. "The corrected statement in the future will be that Christie's total contributions to date will be 45.65% of the total contributed in 15 years of $3.4 billion. Thanks for catching that."
Let’s explain how the pension payments break down.
The governor’s fiscal year 2013 budget summary includes a page detailing pension contributions from fiscal year 1995 under then-Gov. Christine Todd Whitman to Christie’s proposed payment for fiscal year 2013.
According to that page, the combined state contribution between fiscal years 1995 and 2010 was about $3.4 billion -- not the $2.1 billion cited by Chiusano.
Here’s the pension payments by governor:
|Governor||Fiscal Years||Total Pension Contribution|
|Christine Todd Whitman (R)||1995-2001||$963,934,000|
|Donald DiFrancesco (R)||2002||$563,000|
|Jim McGreevey (D)||2003-2005||$101,424,000|
|Richard Codey (D)||2006||$165,026,000|
|Jon Corzine (D)||2007-2010||$2,175,596,000|
|All Five Governors||1995-2010||
Between payments in fiscal years 2012 and 2013, Christie’s total pension contribution would be $1,555,237,000, according to the budget summary.
Based on that figure, Christie’s total contribution would represent about 45 percent of the total payment made between 1995 and 2010. That’s 30 percentage points less than the 75 percent claimed by Chiusano.
In a TV interview, Chiusano claimed that Christie’s total pension contribution would represent "75 percent of the total contribution made between the years 1995 and 2010. That's right, in 15 years, total state contribution was only $2.1 billion."
But according to the state Treasury Department, Christie’s total payment of nearly $1.6 billion would represent about 45 percent of the roughly $3.4 billion contributed between 1995 and 2010.
We rate this statement False.
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