New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Friday signed a $33 billion fiscal year 2014 budget that is close to what he proposed and includes a record pension fund payment.
The Senate and General Assembly had approved the budget 29-11 and 52-25 respectively.
The $1.7 billion pension fund payment follows contributions of about $1 billion and $500 million the previous two years. In 2011, Gov. Chris Christie and the legislature took steps to roll back pension benefits, including suspending cost-of-living increases for retirees and requiring increased employee contributions. In addition, New Jersey government committed to ramping up its contributions to the pension system over seven years, New Jersey Spokesman William Quinn said. To contribute 100% of the actuarially required amount to its pension plan, the state would have to contribute in the ballpark of $3.6 billion.
The budget includes a $303 million surplus, which the state uses as a rainy day fund.
In addition to appropriating the $33 billion in state government spending, the budget assumes $13.4 billion in federal funds.
In fiscal year 2013 New Jersey sold $2.1 billion in new bonds and $3.4 billion in refunding bonds, according to Quinn. The state has not yet decided how much it will sell in the coming fiscal year.
The state paid $2.80 billion for debt service in fiscal 2013 and is expecting to pay $2.96 billion in fiscal 2014, Quinn said.