By John Rietmeyer and Melissa Hayes, State House Bureau, The Record.

An amended complaint from the unions was submitted to Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson.
New Jersey public-employee unions suing to overturn Governor Christie’s decision to cut state contributions to the pension system filed new court papers Tuesday outlining the Legislature’s recent attempt to generate more money to cover the benefits of retired state workers.

An amended complaint from the unions that represent teachers, firefighters, state police and other public employees was submitted to Mercer County Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson, the same judge who upheld Christie’s decision last month to cut a state pension payment by $887 million.

Jacobson, in her June 25 ruling, said that cut was only permissible because it was a last resort for the Christie administration as it was forced to close a $1 billion budget shortfall in the final weeks of the fiscal year that ended on June 30.

The court papers filed Tuesday took on the last resort issue raised by Jacobson, highlighting the $34.1 billion budget bill the Democratic-controlled Legislature sent to

Christie in late June for the fiscal year that began on July 1. The budget bill included a $2.25 billion pension contribution, and to pay for the increased contribution lawmakers approved hiking corporate taxes and income taxes on those earning more than $1 million annually.

Christie, a Republican, vetoed the tax-hike bills on June 30. And again citing budget problems, he used the line-item veto to reduce the pension payment to $681 million, an action the unions also outlined in their amended complaint.


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