- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 16, 2016

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - The Latest on Gov. Chris Christie’s annual budget address to the Legislature (all times local):

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3:40 p.m.

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney says that Gov. Chris Christie’s budget address was full of cheap shots and differed from what he described as a conciliatory private briefing the governor’s office gave to lawmakers.

Senate Democratic leaders praised Christie for proposing a $1.9 billion pension payment, but Sweeney had harsher words Tuesday for Christie’s characterization that the state’s transportation fund isn’t a problem.

Christie proposed a $34.8 billion budget, but it does not address the transportation fund that’s slated to run out of money in June.

Christie said that it’s a politically driven mischaracterization to imply that the trust fund is in crisis.

Sweeney is considered a likely 2017 gubernatorial nominee.

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3:15 p.m.

Democratic lawmakers say they’re encouraged by Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s calls to work together, but are disappointed he didn’t lay out a plan to address the state’s troubled transportation trust fund.

Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto says that the transportation fund is in the worst shape it’s ever been in. Prieto says Democrats have been ready to work with Christie and are ready to work with him after he’s returned from the Republican presidential campaign trial.

Christie proposed a $34.8 billion budget Tuesday, but it does not address the transportation fund that’s slated to run out of money in June.

Christie said that it’s a politically driven mischaracterization to imply that the trust fund is in crisis.

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2:15 p.m.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is proposing a $34.8 billion budget that increases funding for the public pension, but leaves for later a solution on the state’s troubled transportation funding.

The proposal delivered to lawmakers Tuesday almost a week after Christie ended his Republican presidential campaign does not include tax increases or cuts.

Christie is proposing making a nearly $1.9 billion payment into the state’s pension. That’s an increase over last year’s payment of $1.3 billion an in line with what the governor said he would pay.

The new budget projects a nearly $800 million surplus. Most of the state’s revenue growth is projected to come from growing income and sales tax revenues.

Christie thanked New Jersey residents for “allowing me the great privilege of running” for president.

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2:15 p.m.

Gov. Chris Christie says he thought that his governing experience in New Jersey prepared him to run for president and the experience of the failed campaign has made him a better governor and person.

Christie is delivering his annual budget address to New Jersey lawmakers Tuesday. It is his first time speaking publicly since dropping out of the Republican presidential race last week.

Christie thanked New Jersey residents for “allowing me the great privilege of running” for president. He says he owes his growth to the people of the state and intends to use it to deal with issues affecting New Jersey.

He is using his speech to take on a bipartisan tone as he unveils his 2017 fiscal year budget.

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12:15 p.m.

Gov. Chris Christie is taking on a bipartisan tone as he unveils his 2017 budget.

The Republican who recently ended his presidential campaign said Tuesday in excerpts of his speech that he and the Democrat-led Legislature don’t always agree but they have successfully worked together before.

Christie says he’s ready to fix the state’s remaining problems and called for fixing the public pension and benefits system as well as the state’s road and bridge funding, which faces insolvency.

He added that it must be done in a way that’s “fair” to taxpayers. He has said he would not consider tax increases without lowering rates elsewhere.

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3:30 a.m.

Gov. Chris Christie is set to unveil his seventh budget as New Jersey’s governor.

Tuesday’s budget address at the Statehouse in Trenton comes nearly a week after Christie ended his bid for the Republican presidential nomination. Among the topics he faces are his plans to replenish the state’s transportation trust fund, which is on track to go broke by July.

Christie also is considering his options for funding the state’s public pension system. He’ll try to sway Democrats who are pushing forward a proposal to amend the constitution to require quarterly pension payments.

It’s a decision that public unions say was forced by Christie’s reneging on a 2011 law that proscribed specific yearly payments into the pension.

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