TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie delivers his final budget address as governor to a joint session of the Legislature at the Statehouse, but pension and healthcare obligations will prevent any major spending surprises.

"It is a challenge" to put together a budget, Christie said this month. "People who think you can just cut this or cut that, then when you try to cut it nobody wants to cut those things."

"Until we fix the pension and health benefit issue there will always be enormous pressure on the budget on the state budget." Christie said during February's "Ask the Governor" program.

Christie promised to make the full scheduled pension payment, which increases to $650 million this year.

"But that eats up so much of our revenue. We're got healthcare issues. By that I mean the insurance we provide public employees continues to go up because they have the richest health benefits in America," which doesn't leave a lot of room for changes.

He expected there would be salary growth that has already been negotiated plus other projects.

The only "surprise" that could come in the address is about his school funding plan.

"Stay tuned. Especially those school people," Christie said.

The address is scheduled to start at 2 p.m.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.

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