Christie Says He’s Counting on Court to Back Budget Fix

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said he’s counting on a court ruling to back his decision to cut pension contributions to balance the budget.

Christie, speaking yesterday in his monthly “Ask the Governor” program on WKXW-FM in Hamilton, said he doesn’t know what he’ll do if the New Jersey court rules that he must reinstate payments in a lawsuit filed by state troopers.

The 51-year-old Republican governor reversed course on his pledge to raise pension payments this year and next after revenue estimates fell short by as much as $875 million.

“I proposed what was necessary to do if we’re going to have a constitutionally balanced budget, given the failure of both the treasurer’s office and the Office of Legislative Services to accurately project revenue,” Christie said. “There are no alternatives.”

He said he assumes the state would appeal any adverse ruling and doesn’t anticipate a government shutdown.

Unions representing current and former troopers, led by the State Troopers Fraternal Association of New Jersey, asked Judge Mary C. Jacobson to block the reductions as a violation of state law.

The governor said he’s discussing pension changes with leaders of the Democratic-controlled legislature including Senate President Stephen Sweeney of West Deptford and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto of Secaucus. He declined to disclose details of the talks.