Dems quiet on pension payment ahead of Christie speech

TRENTON – A day before Gov. Chris Christie was set to give his Fiscal Year 2015 budget address, the state’s top Senate lawmaker drew a line in the sand.

Senate President Steve Sweeney told reporters he would prefer a government shutdown to reneging on the state’s commitment to make a full pension payment in FY 2015. The governor, who openly denied he would do anything less and said he never made statements to indicate otherwise, should announce Tuesday the state is prepared to make a $2.4 billion payment, Sweeney and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Sen. Paul Sarlo said on Monday.

Now, in excerpted budget remarks, Christie announced his budget proposes making a $2.25 billion payment – the state’s largest ever (as mandated by the pension reforms).

Sources tell PolitickerNJ Democratic officials are conferring with the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services to determine the correct pension payment amount.

No word from Democrats if they plan to contest the figure.

Meanwhile, a Christie administration source tells PolitickerNJ that once the dust has a chance to settle, it will be clear the governor’s proposed budget calls for making the full payment.

Dems quiet on pension payment ahead of Christie speech