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    Gov. Christie calls public employee benefit legislation ‘monumental’

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says a deal to reform public employee benefits is his greatest accomplishment since taking office in 2010.

    In an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday, Christie also lavished praise on Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver– leaders of the Democratic-controlled Legislature — for making it happen.

    The measure requires 500,000 teachers, police, firefighters and other public workers to pay a larger portion of their health insurance premiums based on income. It also increases their pension contributions, moving employee contributions more in line with private sector benefits.

    The state’s retirement funds are underfunded by $110 billion.

    Christie has estimated that the reform legislation will save the state $132 billion over the next 30 years.

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