TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A contentious bill that raises pension and health benefits contributions for more than a half-million New Jersey government workers goes back to the state Senate on Monday for what appears to be a formality.

A provision in the bill allowing new health plans that restrict out-of-state care will be stricken.

Since the New Jersey Assembly approved the employee benefits bill and the supplemental measure Thursday, it’s now up to the Democrat-controlled Senate to cross the last “T” before sending the legislation to Governor Chris Christie.

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

The New Jersey Senate approved the bill Monday.

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.

Christie has been on the national stage since Friday proclaiming victory for the bill, which requires public workers to pay a portion of their health insurance premiums based on income and raises their pension contributions.

Proponents said the increases were necessary to shore up the underfunded systems.

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

Do you support public workers making contribution to their own pensions and health care plans? Sound off in our comments section below…

(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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)

Comments (15)
  1. d bonadidm says:

    But your government can afford for Christie to take a helicopter to his kids sporting event?

  2. sandraberry says:

    The “Penny Health” is quite popular in California and New York. For example it offers the low income health plan. Also offers health insurance for individual with pre-exisiting conditions.

  3. Ken says:

    What does fat boy pay into his medical and pension fund ?

    1. d bonadies says:

      About $65.00

  4. cbs4game says:

    We at CBS Channel 4 in Miami support the American Communist Party and all socialist causes. VIVA LE REVOLUCION.

  5. Rose says:

    Do the members of the NJ State Senate and Assembly and Governor, etc pay for their medical and pension? And at what % ???

  6. Earl P says:

    Good for Christie. I have to pay an enormous amount for benefits. I think the public sector should also. Whey are they so special?

    1. Howie Sprague says:

      It’s not about being ‘special’, it’s how their compensation packages are constructed. Folks in the public sector (non management) are paid lower middle class wages. As in incentive, money is deposited in their pension fund each payday where it is invested and earns interest. These people deserve a living wage and fair benefits as much as anyone else who works for a living. It’s ridiculous to blame hard working members of the middle class for the financial woes that elected officials have created. The emphasis needs to be placed upon ending tax breaks for millionaires & billionaires, ending the billions in subsidies that our government gives to ‘big oil’ & ending ‘corporate welfare’. Stop breaking the back of the middle class.

    2. Underpaid and overworked says:

      hey earl how much do you make and do you risk your life when you go to work. And when off duty for that matter? the contributions from the labor side were made to the pension funds in question it’s the New Jersey government that failed to fund their end of the payments. Every job field that this bill covers have gone to the table and given up things in turn to receive these benefits they were not just given. the finger is pointing at the wrong side. people who make MILLIONS are not getting taxed the way they should but the public servant again gets the short end of the stick.

    3. lisa robinson says:

      Earl, it is not that public employees are special or better than you. But when I signed on as a police officer, I entered into an agreement with my empoyer about certain beneifits that I was entitled to inthe vent that I make it through my career alive. People forget about the dangers that police and fire fighters specifically face every singel day. Have we forgotten about 9/11? You accept these positions with the mindset that you could literally lose your life throughout the course of your career, inspite of allthe training that you do. It happens everyday. Someone inthese profressions right now has lost his/her life defending the life and property of others. Or just a bad, having to face the fact that they will have to live with a permanent disabilility. What are they to do? My sentiments are the same for our soldiers who volunteer their services and their lives to protect our freedom. I am not asking for something that I was promised as long as I did my part – protect and serve my community. Especially when the reason we are inthe position that we are in is because of previous governors who are doing the same thing Christie is doing – not paying the State’s sahre in the pension system. Politicians mismanange taxpayers monies just like banks, mortgage compaines, CEOs who have let so many Americans homeless, jobless, penny less. They give me no reasonto have faith in our government anymore.

    4. d bonadies says:

      Anyone who thinks this bill was a win is an absolute idiot! You’ve taken away from teachers (these ae people who spend ALOT of time with our children..ya know the future). You’ve taken away from our law enforcement (ya know the people your gonna call when you or you family are in trouble) yipee we have stepped on the working class yet again! NONE of these people are millionares. If the government really wanted to save money they would start at the top not the bottom. Hey did you also know Christie cut funding for the disabled? Well he has a good reason he has to make more money for the millionares and business! I don’t have a problem with my tax money goin to my police, teachers, firefighters etc. I do however have a problem with it going in some rich guys pocket!! And to answer the first articule yes, the goverment messed up the pension system and now they are using the people they already stole from to try and fix it….or better yet just to bleed the working class out of more money so they can live better!

  7. Allan Schuster says:

    As someone who gets a State pension and will be giving up my Cost of Living raise, I only hope that the state wil;l gain some financial stability and then we can get a COLA again.

  8. Christie is a bully says:

    “Do you support public workers making contribution to their own pensions and health care plans?” You seem to insinuate that none of us do so already. I assure you that my health and pension contributions as a NJ state worker have been around 7% of my salary for the last few years. Our contracts and pay increases have been on hold for the last few years. The state has not contributed its share to the pension fund in about 13 of the last 17 years. Now new legislation will raise our retirement age and minimum service requirement, and raise our contributions to over 10% of our salaries to make us reimburse the pension fund deficit, caused by money that was never put there in the first place, or taken by Whitman and other leaders to squander on Abbot school districts and other politically motivated government handout programs. Furthermore, not only are COLA taken away, but we will have to contribute the same percentage for health coverage from our pension payments.

    1. d bonadies says:

      Very well said “Chrisite is a bully”. Thumbs up!

  9. William says:

    Government workers must make contributions to their health and retirement. Government can no longer afford this luxury

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