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Top NJ Democrat Threatens Government Shutdown

On Tuesday, Gov. Chris Christie will deliver his State Budget Address during which he’ll chart out his plans for spending the tax dollars residents send to Trenton. At a State House press conference, the Senate president and Senate Budget Committee chairman talked about New Jersey’s current financial situation and they drew a line in the sand.

Governor Chris Christie during Ask the Governor
Governor Chris Christie during Ask the Governor (Governor’s Office/Tim Larsen)

On Feb. 3, during Townsquare Media’s “Ask Governor” show, Christie said he would make the “appropriate payment” into the public employee pension fund for the Fiscal Year 2015 State Budget. He said what was appropriate would be determined by the pension boards and his administration.

“When he says ‘appropriate’ pension payment, that still causes concern to me,” said Sen. President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford). “I am concerned. We made a commitment (and) we made a promise and that cannot be violated.”

By law, the state is required to make a $2.4 billion dollar pension payment in FY 15. Senate Budget Panel Chief Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge) agreed that the pension payment must be made.

“Listen, we’re going to have this pension payment funded or we won’t pass a budget,” Sweeney said.

The constitutional deadline for a signed and balanced budget is midnight on June 30. Not passing a budget means state government would shut down.

“I never said I wasn’t going to make the payment,” Christie said on Ask the Governor.

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