EDISON - Gov. Chris Christie laid out a $29.4 billion budget proposal yesterday for the coming fiscal year.
The plan ties concessions from public workers to funding for pensions and property tax relief.
The governor's budget proposal makes a $500 million contribution to the seriously underfunded state pension system, but only if the Legislature enacts Christie-backed pension changes that require workers to delay retirement and pay more.
The governor's health care proposal is similar. Christie says he will provide additional property tax credits to poor, disabled and senior households, but only if the Legislature significantly increases public workers' health insurance contribution.
Labor unions in New Jersey oppose the plans. Christie's budget also proposes $200 million in business tax cuts and modest increases in education aid.
While Christie has become a national sensation for his blunt talk and budget-cutting ways, his second budget faces a scorched earth at home after last year's deep cuts.
The fact all 120 state lawmakers are up for election in November isn't likely to make things easier for him.
Democrats say the governor has lost the benefit of the doubt with them this year in many areas.
Christie says other governors now look to New Jersey as a beacon of hope. The governor must now work with the Democrat controlled legislature to get the budget passed.
AP wire services contributed to this report.
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