New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is warning of pension, health care and debt costs, claiming they threaten to overwhelm the state's budget.
Christie outlined a $34.4 billion budget plan on Tuesday which includes a 3.5 percent increase in spending.
"Due to our pension, health benefit and debt obligations only 6 percent of new spending can be focused on the areas where our constituents really want us to dedicate their money," Christie said.
Christie said lawmakers have shown fiscal restraint by cutting discretionary spending. Yet, Christie argued labor costs are threatening the state's future.
"We are failing our taxpayers when we refuse to honestly address these problems and we try to fool them into believing that choices do not need to be made," he said.
Democrats weren't convinced. They say reforms enacted in 2011 are working.
"The public employees have put skin in the game," said Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto. "They actually are paying more and right now we need to let this work itself out because if it does, it shows that the pension will be there for them."
Democrats urged the governor to turn his attention towards growing New Jersey's economy.
Christie is bringing his budget message on the road Wednesday. He's holding a town hall event in Morris County.
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