Christie to sign NJ employee benefits bill

Gov. Chris Christie is set to sign what he calls his biggest legislative accomplishment later this afternoon.

The employee benefits bill requires more than 500,000 teachers, police and other state workers to pay part of their health care premiums based on their incomes. Their pension contributions also will also rise.

Christie has said the reforms should serve as a model for other states that are grappling with underfunded public worker pension programs.

The state's retirement systems are underfunded by about $110 billion. The governor says higher contributions are needed to guarantee future pensions.

Public worker unions say the pension system is in the red primarily because the state has skipped its annual payment for years.

The new law requires the state to phase in its contribution.

State workers: Christie's win is at expense of the middle class Walt Kane takes a look at pension reform State Assembly OKs bill hiking benefits costs State benefits bill faces final legislative hurdle AP: Union to sue NJ over skipped pension payments Protesters march on Statehouse as Senate passes benefits bill Gov. Christie praises Senate vote on benefits bill Employee benefits bill brings protests, debate AP wire services contributed to this report.

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