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Christie's Inaugural Bills Affect Govt Workers

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New Jersey Governor Christie has signed his first legislation since taking office in January--three bills making pensions and health benefits for government workers less generous.

The governor signed the reform measures last night, shortly after the legislature passed them. The bills require all government workers to contribute at least 1.5 percent of their salaries toward health care costs, cap the amount of unused sick and vacation time workers can cash out at retirement, and bar part-timers from enrolling in the state pension system.

Proponents say the legislation will help keep the pension system solvent, saving $1 billion over three years. Governor Christie says the only way to jump-start the state's stalled economy is to cut government spending and not to raise taxes. Christie says the current tax situation has pushed businesses out of New Jersey and has scared off others that may have come to the state.