Judge says Christie could have agreed to tax hike as a way to make full pension contribution

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TRENTON, New Jersey — A New Jersey judge says Gov. Chris Christie and lawmakers could have raised taxes to fund the pensions of public employees.

Judge Mary Jacobson's remarks came Thursday during a hearing on whether the state is legally bound to making good on a 2011 deal to make bigger contributions to pension funds.

Faced with a surprise shortfall in tax revenue last year, Christie cut back on two years' worth of planned payments.

Unions are suing to try to force him to make the full contribution for this year.

Jacobson pushed a state lawyer on whether the Republican governor exhausted all ways to make the payments. But she has not ruled on the case.

State lawyer Jean Reilly says Christie did explore ways to pay but none were practical.

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