The New Jersey legislature on Thursday joined Wisconsin, Ohio, and a handful of other states by drastically scaling back pension and health-care benefits for government workers and curbing collective bargaining rights for public-sector unions.
All told, 750,000 public-sector workers will end up forking over thousands of dollars more each year to fund their pension and health-care benefits—in part to plug a $52 billion hole in New Jersey's state pension fund.
But there's a key distinction between New Jersey and the other states that passed similar bills: Democrats control the legislature.
Unlike Wisconsin and Ohio, where newly elected Republican majorities in the legislature and new Republican governors rammed through unpopular bills curbing bargaining and benefits, in New Jersey, Democrats gave a Republican governor, Chris Christie, the votes he needed.
The state Senate passed the bill 24 to 15, with 8 Democrats bolting from their party to support Christie. In the Assembly, the vote was 46 to 32 in favor of the measure, and 14 Democrats sided with Republicans.