TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — New Jersey Governor Chris Christie delivered his final budget address to lawmakers in Trenton, Tuesday.
Gov. Christie said New Jersey will leave the state in better financial shape than he found it.
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We promised to leave it better than we found it – and we will. Here we go #BudgetFY2018
— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) February 28, 2017
He presented a budget with a total of $35.5 billion in spending, about two and half percent more than last year.
“Because of the hard decisions made over the last seven years and the targeted investments we made to grow the economy and not grow the government, I’m proud of the 2018 budget that I’m presenting to you today,” said Christie.
Among the increases $647 million more to the pension fund than last year and $523 million more toward school funding.
Addressing the school funding formula will likely be the budget battle of Christie’s final year with districts that have growing enrollment complaining the state is ripping them off.READ MORE: Triple Shooting At Penn's Landing Leaves 3 Teenagers Injured: Philadelphia Police
“It only took you ten days to pass the failed formula we’ve been stuck with for the last eight years, let’s take 100 days to pass one that’s fair for all New Jersey students and all New Jersey families in 2017, and if we don’t do it in 100 days shame on us,” said Christie.
Christie’s 100 day challenge to act on school funding came with a stern warning.
“I want to act with you, but if forced I will act alone,” he said.
Democrats, who have blasted Christie’s idea of giving all students in the state the same school aid regardless of economic status, say a lot of ground will have to be covered to reach a compromise.
“I don’t think he’s heard what I’ve said. I’ve never said the funding formula we have is unfair or is broken, it’s been underfunded,” said New Jersey Assembly speaker Vincent Prieto (D). “Does it have things that have to be tweaked? Absolutely.”MORE NEWS: Betts Falls Triple Shy Of Cycle, Leads Dodgers Past Phillies
The current fiscal year’s $34.5 billion budget expires June 30.