Judge Blocks Pensions Funds’ Latest Lawsuit Against Christie

TRENTON (AP) -

A judge on Thursday blocked the latest legal effort by the trustees of New Jersey’s three largest public employee pension funds to try to force the state government to increase its contributions.

Judge Mary Jacobson said the effort from the Public Employees’ Retirement System, the Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund and the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System “seems like an end run around the Supreme Court’s decision.”

The state’s top court ruled in June that the state could not be ordered to increase its contributions to the pension funds.

The trustees had already sued but amended their complaint after the June ruling.

The litigation is a response to Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s decision last year, amid a state fiscal crisis, to veer from an earlier pension funding law he signed.

The Supreme Court said that the state is obligated to pay the promised pensions for government workers but agreed with Christie’s administration that the future legislatures could not be forced to abide by past spending decisions that amount to more than 1 percent of the state’s annual budget.