TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- A New Jersey judge has ruled that Gov. Chris Christie's administration can follow through with its plan to reduce its contributions to public workers' pension funds.

Gov. Chris Christie (Jeff Zelevansky, Getty Images)

A group of unions that had been suing to try to force the state to make the full payments expects to appeal Wednesday's rejection of their request for a preliminary injunction.

The payment would have been due Monday.

Christie says that cutting the payments due this month and next year is the only clear option for balancing the state budget after a surprise revenue shortfall.

The Democrat-controlled Legislature is advancing a budget plan that calls for tax hikes on corporations and high-earning individuals rather than the pension payment cuts. Christie had been expected to veto those tax increases.