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In last budget address, New Jersey Governor Christie targets pensions, school funding

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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie laid out plans to spend more money on public pensions and roads and reiterated calls to transform the state’s school funding formula in his final budget address as leader of the state on Tuesday.

The Republican, once a White House hopeful, said his $36.2 billion budget proposal for fiscal 2018 included a $2.5 billion contribution to the state’s retirement system for public employees, up $647 million from last year’s contribution.

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He said he wants to spend an extra $400 million this fiscal year to fix roads and deficient bridges. In October he signed into law a gasoline tax hike of 23 cents a gallon, New Jersey’s first increase since 1988, in exchange for reducing other taxes. This latest budget proposal does not call for any new tax increases.

Christie said he wanted to work with lawmakers to overhaul the state’s education funding formula within 100 days, before primary elections in June, though he did not make any changes to the formula in his proposed budget.

His first such proposal in June 2016 to send a flat rate of $6,599 per student to all public school districts has fallen flat in the Democrat-led legislature.

Christie is in his eighth and final year as governor. His presidential aspirations and approval rating at home crumbled in the wake of the Bridgegate scandal involving his former top aides.

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Credit rating agencies have downgraded New Jersey 10 times since Christie took office in 2010, in part because of state pension liabilities.

Even so, Christie touted property tax aid, job growth and lower discretionary spending by his administration in his address to lawmakers, as well as an unemployment rate that has fallen to 4.7 percent from 9.8 percent in 2010.

His fiscal 2018 budget anticipates a 2.6 percent increase in spending and a 3.6 percent increase in revenues. Christie said he has lowered the amount of one-time budget revenues to 2 percent from 13.2 percent in 2009.

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He proposed using state lottery revenues to shore up the pension system, saying this could boost the system’s funded ratio to 64 percent from 49 percent and cut unfunded liability by about $13 billion. The shortfall is currently about $136 billion, according to S&P Global.

“While the need for real and sustainable long-term reform cannot be understated, addressing the continued compounding of our pension crisis requires a substantial increase in State contributions,” Christie said.

(Reporting by Elinor Comlay in Trenton; Writing by Hilary Russ in New York; Editing by Daniel Bases and David Gregorio)

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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2020 Election

Trump campaign mocked after unveiling new red hats: ‘Do you have arm bands as well?’

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President Donald Trump's 2016 "Make America Great Again" hats have been replaced with new "Keep America Great" hats.

Trump re-election campaign manager Brad Parscale modeled one of the hats on Twitter.

Here is some of what people were saying:

https://twitter.com/LazarusLeBaron/status/1165430924093165568

Here I made an arm band design for you pic.twitter.com/inTyqVi2wo

— Christopher Goodwin (@LazarusLeBaron) August 25, 2019

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‘This will not end well’: Far-right extremism expert warns of Trump’s intensifying authoritarianism

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An expert on the far-right in America warned of President Donald Trump's "genuinely dangerous levels" of authoritarianism on Saturday.

Author David Neiwert posted a long Twitter thread on the commander-in-chief's "Social Dominance Orientation" -- and warned it will not end well.

Neiwert is the author of the 2017 book Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump.

Here is the thread he posted:

https://twitter.com/DavidNeiwert/status/1165428067138846720

https://twitter.com/DavidNeiwert/status/1165428524808724480

https://twitter.com/DavidNeiwert/status/1165429018486702081

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2020 Election

‘The Mooch’ attended Biden fundraiser in the Hamptons — because Trump ‘has lost his mind’

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Former White House press secretary Anthony Scaramucci attended a fundraiser for former Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday.

CBS News reporter Ben Mitchell posted a photo of Scaramucci at the event, and subsequently interviewed "The Mooch."

Scaramucci said he was still a registered Republican, but added that Trump "has lost his mind."

Spotted at a Biden event in the Hamptons: Fmr. Trump WH Comms Director Anthony @Scaramucci pic.twitter.com/PWVTZ8Qm15

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