Christie says pension system could go broke by 2020

WEST DEPTFORD - Gov. Chris Christie says that if changes aren't made to the state pension system it will go broke by 2020.

Christie's $29.4 billion budget proposal calls for the Democratic-controlled Legislature to enact major changes to public employees' pension and health benefits.

Christie told a crowd of more than 400 at a West Deptford town hall meeting yesterday that his reforms are necessary if they want to see their property taxes stay level or go down.

In his budget message earlier this week, the governor said he'll make an early contribution to the state's pension system if the Democratic Legislature agrees to his pension reform plan. He also said he'll double property tax rebates for some New Jerseyans if the Legislature adopts his health benefit reforms.

Assembly Democratic spokesman Tom Hester Jr. accused the governor of creating political theater in trying to use seniors and disabled as pawns against state workers.

AP wire services contributed to this report.

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