State benefits bill faces final legislative hurdle

A divisive bill resetting public employee benefits so they're more in line with the private sector is expected to clear its final legislative hurdle.The bill

TRENTON - A divisive bill resetting public employee benefits so they're more in line with the private sector is expected to clear its final legislative hurdle.

The bill will be put up for a vote in the Assembly today. The proposal would require approximately 500,000 state workers to shoulder sharply higher costs for their pension and health benefits. It also suspends collective bargaining over health care for four years.

The measure was fast-tracked through the Legislature after Gov. Chris Christie struck a deal with Democrats who control the Legislature and GOP minority leaders.

The unions and many Democrats remain opposed. Christie is expected to sign the bill quickly once it reaches his desk.

Meanwhile, crowds of public employees are rallying in Trenton again today to stop the pension and benefits reforms.

AP wire services contributed to this report.

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