New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will pledge Tuesday to make the state's "largest pension payment ever at $2.25 billion," according to advanced excerpts of his big budget address.
The Republican governor will also present a balanced budget, as required by law, and will promise not to increase taxes, though his prepared excerpts do not state whether he would introduce tax cuts.
"Now there will be some that would advocate that the answer is to raise taxes," he will say, according to the prepared text. "Not only is this an unfair solution, it isn't a solution at all. We just can't raise taxes enough to pay for the exploding costs of public employee pensions and benefits."
Christie will deliver his annual budget address to a joint legislative session at the State House in Trenton, an audience that includes some of the same legislators investigating his administration's role in an alleged plot to cause massive traffic gridlock in Fort Lee last year as an act of political retribution.
His speech also comes as he takes continued hits in public opinion polls, with a new survey this week showing his approval rating at just 49 percent among registered voters, down from 70 percent a year ago.
New Jersey faces a series of fiscal struggles, including a 4.1 percent increase in debt last year to $40.4 billion, the largest increase since Christie became governor. The state is also expected to bring in $400 million less in revenue than expected, Bloomberg reports.
The pension payment will likely please Democrats, who've been calling on Christie to hold true to his promise that he will call for the pension payment.
But Christie will also pledge to continue to seek reform in entitlement programs, as he did in his State of the State address.
"With our long-term obligations only set to increase in the coming years, the problem isn't going away by itself. We must do what we were sent here to do by the people -- lead and act decisively once again," he will say.