- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The New Jersey Education Association said Tuesday that it has pulled out of talks with a commission appointed by Gov. Chris Christie that the Republican had hoped would yield a deal that could put the state on stronger fiscal footing.

The news could put a dent in Mr. Christie’s possible presidential aspirations, months after he told state lawmakers in his annual budget address that the independent commission had reached an “unprecedented accord” with the NJEA on a “Roadmap for Reform” that would aim “to solve our long-term problems with the pension and health benefits systems.”

But Wendell Steinhauer, president of the NJEA, said in a statement Tuesday that no consensus could be reached with the New Jersey Pension and Benefits Commission and said “our sole focus is ensuring that our members’ current pensions are fully funded by the state, and that no further discussions will be occurring between the NJEA and the Commission.”

Mr. Steinhauer said the State Superior Court has said the state must make its full annual require contributions under a 2011 overall of the system that Mr. Christie signed into law.

“The law is the law. Governor Christie signed Chapter 78, and he needs to obey it by making the full annual contribution this year, next year, and every year beyond, as the statute explicitly requires,” Mr. Steinhauer said. “As the governor stated during his recent town hall meeting in New Hampshire: ‘When you say you are going to do something, you do it.’ I couldn’t agree more, and that includes following the law he signed.”

Mr. Christie recently spent several days in New Hampshire, which hosts the first-in-the-nation primary.

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