By David Madden
TRENTON, N.J. (CBS ) – It’s getting down to crunch time in Trenton, with less than 6 days before New Jersey must have a balanced budget. And there’s more than just the usual political bickering at play.
At issue is Christie’s plan to underfund the state’s pension system to bring the budget into balance. Other governors have done it in the past, but this time around, there’s the pension reform bill to consider, and a promise to make full pension payments in return for increased employee contributions.
It’s a promise Senate President Steve Sweeney wants to honor.
“We have an obligation to make our pension contribution,” Sweeney said. “And we can with the budget that the speaker and I have put together.”
Their proposal raises taxes on business and those earning over $500,000 a year — two ideas that will almost certainly be line-item vetoed by the Governor.
“We’re still talking to him, hoping that he would agree to something,” Sweeney said. “We don’t expect it.”
Several unions have sued to force Christie’s hand. A Superior Court judge will hear those suits today.