TRENTON — A pugnacious and boastful Gov. Chris Christie proposed a no-growth budget for New Jersey on Tuesday, saying he had inspired a legion of copycat governors from Albany to Sacramento and was not about to let up in his efforts to shift money from public workers to property-tax payers and businesses that create jobs.
Declaring that his deep cuts last year had established “the new normal,” Mr. Christie, a Republican, carved out a modest increase for public-school aid, kept municipal aid flat, offered small increases for indigent care at hospitals and financial aid for college students, and set aside a bigger amount to support improvements in the state’s vital transportation system.
But to pay for his priorities, Mr. Christie, who has waged a 14-month rhetorical war against the teachers’ and other public-sector unions, stepped up the pressure to slash their members’ health and retirement benefits.
The governor conditioned a doubling of the middle-class property tax rebate, for example, on the passage of changes that would make public employees pay 30 percent of the cost of their health insurance, compared with an average of 8 percent that Mr. Christie said many now pay.