Taking exception to the Christie administration’s revisionist history that claims credit for the solvency of the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech reminded officials that the fund’s saving came from strong legislative action and voter approval to end years of raids by cash-hungry governors.
In 2010, after unanimous bipartisan passage of legislation sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney to prevent UI funds from being diverted into the general revenue stream, more than 80 percent of voters approved of the constitutional protection.
In testimony before the Legislature last week, and in a subsequent press release, the administration attempted to claim credit for the Fund’s newfound solvency.
“What really saved the UI Trust Fund was the fact that the Legislature and voters came together to get this done, not a specific action or policy of this governor or this administration,” said Wowkanech. “And, given the current $800 million hole in the budget, it’s scary to even imagine what would happen today if the spigot hadn’t been turned off for good.”
Wowkanech said that instead of giving itself a self-congratulatory pat-on-the-back for work it didn’t do, the administration should place the credit for saving unemployment insurance where it belongs: with the Legislature and New Jersey’s voters.