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Sorting out the truth in state politics

PolitiFact: DNC chair says Chris Christie cut equal pay for women

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., mischaracterized New Jersey’s Gov. Chris Christie’s statement about why he vetoed a measure pertaining to equal pay for women.

Getty Images (2012)

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., mischaracterized New Jersey’s Gov. Chris Christie’s statement about why he vetoed a measure pertaining to equal pay for women.

The statement

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie "cut equal pay for women, calling it 'senseless bureaucracy.' "

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, in a press release

The ruling

This claim stems from four bills passed by the New Jersey Legislature in September 2012 that were designed to narrow the pay gap. Christie signed one, gave conditional vetoes to two and an absolute veto to the other.

The bill Christie vetoed, A-2649, called for government contractors to report employee gender and compensation information to the state Department of Labor.

In his veto message, Christie wrote that the proposal would "burden countless employers with onerous reporting requirements, thereby driving up the cost of public contracts, which are ultimately shouldered by the taxpayer … the reporting requirements fail to advocate sound policy over senseless bureaucracy."

So Christie used the words "senseless bureaucracy" to describe the proposal. But the bill did not "cut equal pay for women," as Wasserman Schultz claimed. It simply required additional reporting.

"The governor has never 'cut' equal pay, and he has a well-documented public position of supporting the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (a national law) and equal pay for equal work," said Kevin Roberts, a campaign spokesman for Christie.

Research from the American Association of University Women suggests that women in New Jersey make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. However, that figure doesn't control for factors like number of hours worked, occupation and race.

That puts New Jersey in the middle of the pack among states in terms of biggest wage differences.

"I think that for Jersey, like the rest of the country, this problem has been pernicious and persistent and it's clear that we can't just wish it away," said Lisa Maatz, American Association of University Women vice president of government relations. "We need some kind of legislative response."

Back to our claim. Wasserman Schultz said Christie "cut equal pay for women, calling it a 'senseless bureaucracy.' " Christie didn't cut anyone's pay, though. Instead, he said it was "senseless bureaucracy" to require government contractors to report more employee information, including information about gender and compensation, and he vetoed a measure that would have mandated such reporting.

We rate Wasserman Schultz's statement Mostly False.

Julie Kliegman, Times staff writer. Edited for print. Read the full version at PolitiFact.com.

PolitiFact: DNC chair says Chris Christie cut equal pay for women 10/18/13 [Last modified: Friday, October 18, 2013 4:54pm]
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