Governor Christie: a lump of coal in union stockings
By: Greg Halvorson
I know, thereâ€™s a lot going on, what with this lame cluck Congress tossing pandering bones to every victim class (gays, Hispanics, the class-warfare crowd) imaginable, and Heir E. Reid firming up his national embarrassment agenda. Donâ€™t get me started on the food â€œsafetyâ€ bill (17,000 new bureaucrats!), or the trite posturing on the KEY to job creation: unemployment checksâ€”WOO! I prefer to hear the governor of New Jersey (in excelsis conservative!) with my government mozzarella.
So, here’s the Daily Callersâ€™ piece on â€œda Gov.â€ Speaking at the Jeb Bush Excellence in Education Summit, the â€œRound Mound of Union Poundâ€ showed why we love him: he continues to tell it exactly like it is.
Christie: â€œI am often called impatient by folks in my state and I plead guilty. I plead guilty to impatience,â€ said the governor when talking about his now infamous fights with the NJEA. â€œThis is not a Democrat or Republican issue, itâ€™s the seminal civil rights issue of our time.â€
â€œIâ€™ve said to those folks in the Democrat party that represent some of the most ill-served children in our state that theyâ€™re ignoring the issue. Itâ€™s unacceptable. Itâ€™s time to do what the teachersâ€™ unions say they do everydayâ€”put children first.â€
On the current struggle with the NJEA over superintendent pay caps, Christie continued: â€œThis conspiracy among superintendents is extraordinary. And youâ€™re watching it play out in New Jersey right now because weâ€™ve imposed a cap on superintendent pay. To be the super of the schoolsâ€”thatâ€™s a hard jobâ€¦. but Iâ€™ll tell you this, itâ€™s no harder than my job. And I make $175, 000 a year. So I said, â€˜How bout this? You donâ€™t make more than me.â€™â€
When talking about the financial wealth of the NJEA, Christie said, â€œBut what strikes you when you go down State Street as a new governor is that there are all these small buildings, except for two. The State House, and right across the street, the palace built by the NJEA.â€
â€œAnd I mean a palaceâ€”built with $130 million in dues they collectâ€¦. $130 million in dues per/year. So you say to yourself, â€˜Well, with $130 million, they must contribute to their membersâ€™ salaries.â€™â€
â€œNo,â€ said Christie.
â€œThey must contribute to their membersâ€™ pensions.â€
â€œNo,â€ said Christie.
â€œ$130 million a year â€“ all right â€“ theyâ€™re kicking it for their memberâ€™s health benefits.â€
Again, Christie said, â€œNo.â€
He went on to say that the NJEA collects $730 in mandatory dues per/ member, per/year. The fee is deducted from teachersâ€™ paychecks by the state of New Jersey, then wired to the NJEA. â€œBecause we want to make this as convenient as possible,â€ Christie said.
The governor also reminded the audience that teachers in New Jersey who want to opt out of the union must pay an opt-out fee of 85 percent of the $730.
â€œNow, for people in my generationâ€¦. this is like the Hotel California. You can check out anytime you like, but you may never leave.â€
He ended on a somber note, pointing out that New Jersey spends an average of $18,000 per/pupil, per/year. Despite that, 205 schools in the state chronically fail. â€œI am impatient. And it is an obscenity that those who claim to be involved in public education for the kids arenâ€™t as impatient and as upset as I am,â€ he said.
â€œI canâ€™t afford to be tired,â€ he added. â€œI canâ€™t afford to get discouraged. The people didnâ€™t hire me because of my charm and good looks; they hired me because they know our stateâ€™s a mess. Our children can no longer stand the consequences of this conduct.â€
Greg Halvorson is the founder of Soldiers Without Boots, and hosts Freedom Warrior Radio on Blog Talk Radio