Christie backs pension amendment, but only with benefits cut

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TRENTON -

(AP) - New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie endorsed a plan to cut the state's public worker retirement benefits and enact a constitutional amendment to commit the state to pension payments.

Christie on Wednesday backed the recommendations put forward by New Jersey Pension and Health Benefit Study Commission.

Christie says he's hopeful that incoming Democratic Gov.-elect Phil Murphy will embrace the recommendations. Murphy spokesman Dan Bryan says Murphy would work in "good faith" on a path forward.

Christie has long called for cutting generous retirement health benefits, but the Democrat-led Legislature has resisted. The move has also been opposed by unions, including those representing state workers and teachers.

Christie says what's changed is that the unfunded liability has grown. It went from about $80 billion in 2014 to $90 billion.

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