Reporting Levon Putney
NEWARK, NJ (CBSNewYork) — New Jersey Governor Chris Christie took a victory lap Friday after an almost unheard-of bipartisan budget deal, including pension reform.
As CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reports, what’s bad news for public employees is good news for homeowners.
The governor did a little chest-thumping after doing what New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg only dreams about.
“It’s over. We now have to get to the business of climbing out of the hole,” Gov. Christie said.
The Republican governor used a YouTube ad to trumpet what he regarded as a big achievement. He got the Democratic legislature to approve a huge rollback in health and pension benefits for 750,000 public employees and retired state workers.
“Tough choices need to be made,” he said.
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There was immense and intense union anger after Christie reached the deal on pension reform with fellow New Jersey lawmakers.
Still, the State Assembly approved the bill to increase what state and local workers pay for health insurance and pensions. Christie said it will help New Jersey live within its means in these times of economic strife, and will reduce local property taxes.
“I feel that in this economy it is probably something that has to be done, because we’ve got to do something,” Tenafly resident Howard Josephson said.
“We’ve got to do something about these property taxes, that’s a killer,” Tyrese Griffin, of Paterson, said. “But I don’t know about changing the health benefits, I don’t think that’s fair.”
“I understand that cuts have to be made, that the state is really in debt, but I don’t think he’s very even-handed about the way he does it,” Hackensack resident Teri Binder said. “There are other things he could be doing. He could be raising the gasoline tax a little bit.”
A final version of the bill is expected to be passed by the State Senate on Monday. Governor Christie is expected to sign it as fast as his pen can go.
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