Judge’s remark could indicate trouble for Gov. Christie’s pension payment plan

A New Jersey judge says Gov. Chris Christie and lawmakers could have raised taxes to fund the state worker pensions instead of lowering payments.

New Jersey Superior Judge Mary Jacobson’s remark came Thursday during a hearing on whether the state is legally bound to making good on a 2011 deal to make bigger contributions to pension funds. Her comment was made during the proceedings and do not amount to a final ruling in this case. 

Faced with a surprise shortfall in tax revenue last year, Christie cut back on two years’ worth of planned payments.

Unions are suing to try to force him to make the full contribution for this year.

Jacobson pushed a state lawyer on whether the Republican governor exhausted all ways to make the payments. 

State lawyer Jean Reilly says Christie did explore ways to pay but none were practical.

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Geoff Mulvihill, Associated Press contributed to this report

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