Public-sector-pay bill a victory for Christie
NEW YORK — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s success in forcing state public sector workers to pay more for their benefits will burnish his image nationally among Republicans already wooing him for national office, analysts said Friday.
Although the first-term governor has repeatedly ruled out a run in the 2012 presidential election, many Republicans see him as a more promising contender than the current crop of declared candidates.
Even some states where Republicans are dominant have not been able to achieve Mr. Christie’s feat of overcoming fierce public sector union resistance to get legislation raising the retirement age and increasing public sector employee pension contributions.
The victory is all the more remarkable because the labor movement is stronger in New Jersey than in Midwest states that have passed similar legislation, and opposition Democrats control both houses of the New Jersey Legislature.
In Ohio and Wisconsin, Republicans control governorships and legislatures so they were able to push through measures to strip public sector unions of some bargaining rights over wages as well as higher benefit contributions.
New Jersey has more public sector workers than either of those states, and a higher percentage of its public workers are unionized than the Midwest states, according to an analysis by RBC Capital Markets.
“If he were to run nationally, he has a heck of a platform to run on,” said Mickey Blum, director of Baruch College Survey Research.
Judge: Miller must pay legal fees for challenge
JUNEAU — An Alaska judge says failed U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller must pay more than $17,000 in legal costs to the state for his challenge to last year’s election but won’t have to pay legal bills for rival Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
In state court, when no money is at issue in the litigation, winning parties can seek up to 20 percent of their attorney fees. For the state, that came to $17,374.
Mr. Miller sued over the state’s handling of the election and counting of votes for Ms. Murkowski, who mounted an unprecedented write-in campaign after losing the GOP primary to tea party favorite Mr. Miller last August.
Ms. Murkowski will also have to pay the state $400 because she lost her effort to have the state count certain ballots toward her tally.
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