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A look at the state budget, legalizing marijuana

In this edition of our weekly Political Bytes videos, State House reporter Kevin McArdle and I discuss the the state budget as well as Gov. Chris Christie's stance on the issue of legalizing recreational marijuana.

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Gov. Christie, interviewed by Eric Scott, on 'Ask the Governor' Monday night. (Photo by Kira Buxton)
Gov. Christie, interviewed by Eric Scott, on 'Ask the Governor' Monday night. (Photo by Kira Buxton)
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Christie Says the State Will Not ‘Close Down’ [POLL]

A New Jersey court will hear arguments June 25 in a lawsuit seeking to stop Gov. Chris Christie from slashing the current fiscal year's pension payment from a projected $1.6 billion to pay $696 million, knocking this year's budget out of balance. Christie said Monday night that a negative ruling by the court will not result in a government shutdown.

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Gov. Chris Christie delivers his budget address
Gov. Chris Christie (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
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Lawmakers Seek Public Input on NJ Budget [AUDIO]

Members of the public are invited to give input on the governor's proposed $34.5 billion state budget during a series of public hearings, and lawmakers say the feedback is "critical."

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(Credit: Pekka Jaakkola, ThinkStock)
(Credit: Pekka Jaakkola, ThinkStock)
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Christie’s Online Tax Collection Plan Could Generate Revenue [AUDIO]

In his state budget address, Gov. Chris Christie proposed forcing online-only retailers to collect New Jersey's seven-percent sales tax and turn that revenue over to the state. If you think this means a tax increase for you, think again. Consumers are already required to pay the tax, but many don't.

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pothole
StockSolutions, ThinkStock
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Fixing NJ’s Roads: Is a Gas Tax Hike the Answer? [AUDIO]

It's no secret that Gov. Chris Christie is no fan of tax increases. During his first gubernatorial campaign in 2009 he said he would not hike taxes and he has consistently repeated that pledge including in his recent state budget address. That's not stopping the top lawmaker in the Assembly from talking about a tax increase to help the chronically cash-strapped state.

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Governor Chris Christie gives the Budget Address in Trenton, N.J. on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. (Governor's Office/Tim Larsen)
Governor Chris Christie gives the Budget Address in Trenton, N.J. on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. (Governor's Office/Tim Larsen)
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Gov. Christie Proposes $34.4 Billion State Budget [VIDEO,AUDIO]

Gov. Chris Christie’s proposed Fiscal Year 2015 (FY 15) State Budget calls for spending $34.4 billion making the biggest budget ever for the Garden State. The governor said there is a reason for that. Mandated costs are driving up the budget while crowding out spending for other priorities.

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Democratic leaders react to Governor Christie's Budget Address (NJ Assembly Democrats Facebook)
Democratic leaders react to Governor Christie's Budget Address (NJ Assembly Democrats Facebook)
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NJ Dems: Job Growth, Economy Fixes Needed [AUDIO]

New Jersey Democrats responded to Gov. Chris Christie's $34.4 billion state budget Tuesday, calling for more job growth and an increase in state revenue.

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Gov. Chris Christie
Jeff Zelevansky, Getty Images
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Thumbs Down From Unions on Pension Adjustments [AUDIO]

He didn't make any specific suggestions, but during his budget address Gov. Chris Christie did seem to suggest that additional accommodations will have to be made by public sector workers when it comes to their pensions and benefits, because the state simply will not be able to afford to pay out those costs in the future.

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Gov. Chris Christie delivers his budget address
Gov. Chris Christie (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
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Christie’s Proposals Could Lead to Rifts with Union Leaders [AUDIO]

During his budget address, Gov. Chris Christie trumpeted the idea of expanding educational opportunities, proposing $5 million in grants for schools to come up with different ideas about lengthening the school day, but he didn't offer specifics about how the state would pay for having children in school for more hours.

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Governor's Office/Tim Larsen
Governor's Office/Tim Larsen
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Christie: NJ Hampered by ‘Exploding’ Retiree Costs

Gov. Chris Christie will again take aim at what he calls the `exploding' costs of public employee pensions and health care in his fifth annual budget message.

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