- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 16, 2016

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Here’s a look at some of the numbers behind Gov. Chris Christie’s proposed $34.8 billion budget and the ideas that he laid out in his 40-minute address to lawmakers Tuesday.

-TAXES:

In calling on Democrats not to raise taxes, Christie said the Garden State lost 2 million residents over the last decade. But he was only counting the people who’ve moved out of New Jersey - not the ones who’ve also moved in.

Christie’s data comes from a report released last week by the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, which said New Jersey has lost $18 billion in income and blamed the state’s tax rates on people moving away. The gross population loss was actually 596,000 people, according to that report.

And the reasons people are leaving are not limited to New Jersey’s tax structure, said Joseph Seneca, university professor emeritus at Rutgers’s Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. People retire and find jobs elsewhere, among other reasons, he said.

“It may be people pushed out by high property taxes or the estate tax,” Seneca said. “But it could be the high cost of living and being pulled by opportunities elsewhere.”

-PENSION:

Unlike last year, Christie’s proposed pension payment this year was welcome news for Democrats. Christie is proposing making a roughly $1.9 billion payment, which fits with the schedule he unveiled last year. That’s still well below the roughly $3.8 billion payment he and the Legislature agreed to in 2011 legislation.

But the state Supreme Court declined to require Christie to make payments according to that schedule. Democrats welcome the payment because they’re including a version of Christie’s payment schedule in their proposed constitutional amendment to require quarterly payments.

Christie says the proposed amendment puts public pensioners ahead of other residents.

“The constitutional amendment mandates pension payments and places government workers ahead of every other citizen of the state in our state budget,” he said.

-TRANSPORTATION:

Christie said the Democrat-led Legislature wants to deal with the diminishing transportation trust fund “solely on the back of taxpayers,” but that’s not the full picture.

Democratic Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto said he would consider phasing out the state’s estate tax, and Senate President Steve Sweeney is calling for raising the threshold for taxing retirement income in the state as part of a potential solution on the fund.

BY THE NUMBERS:

- $250 million: Amount in savings from public employee and retiree health costs Christie is seeking to help make that $1.8 billion pension payment. He has also called for shifting costs to local governments.

- $127 million: Increase in state and federal money to increase mental health and substance abuse treatment rates in fiscal year 2017. The Christie administration says that reimbursement rates are expected to increase between 20 and 50 percent. He is also proposing $2 million to convert a mothballed prison into a drug rehabilitation facility for inmates.

- $775 million: The amount budged for state hospital costs, including charity care. The costs are down from $864 million for the current year and $985 million the year before. The administration attributes the drop to the changes in the health insurance marketplace. Democrats say the state is benefiting because of the Affordable Care Act.

- 630: Number of days Christie has left in his time in office. “Are we going to waste those days on partisanship and politics, or will you work with me to use those 630 days to help bring relief to our overburdened taxpayers?” Christie asked.

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