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NJ Assembly OKs Bill Hiking Costs For Pension And Health Benefits

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New Jersey Statehouse - Trenton, NJ - File Photo

New Jersey Statehouse – Trenton, NJ (file)

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The New Jersey Assembly passed landmark employee benefits legislation Thursday night requiring public workers to pay sharply more for pension and health benefits.

The divisive bill passed 46-32 with support from all Republicans who were present and a smattering of Democrats.

The Senate approved the bill Monday.

Republican Governor Chris Christie is expected to quickly sign it.

The measure requires 500,000 teachers, police, firefighters and other public workers to pay a portion of their health insurance based on income. It also increases pension contributions.

The state’s retirement funds are underfunded by $110 billion.

The bill’s backers say higher contributions are needed to ensure solvency.

Opponents object to the four-year suspension of bargaining over health benefits.

More than 8,000 rallied at the Statehouse Thursday to oppose the bill.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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