- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 28, 2017

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - The Latest on Gov. Chris Christie’s final budget proposal (all times local):

3 p.m.

Gov. Chris Christie is calling for the state’s largest insurer to set aside money into a fund to pay for inpatient and outpatient drug rehab.

Christie called on Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey on Tuesday to set aside some cash from their $2.9 billion surplus to fund the idea. The proposal came as part of Christie’s announced $35.5 billion fiscal year 2018 budget.

The Republican governor has dedicated his final year in office to fighting the opioid drug crisis in New Jersey, which claimed 1,600 lives in 2015.

Horizon said in a statement that the notion it has an “abundant surplus” is wrong and “raiding” reserves would make insurance more expensive.

2 p.m.

Gov. Chris Christie is proposing a $35.5 billion budget for New Jersey, but he isn’t including a sweeping education funding overhaul he touted last year.

Christie is unveiling the proposal Tuesday before the Democrat-led Legislature in his final address as governor, outlining the state’s spending blueprint. Christie is term limited and is set to leave office in January.

Christie’s 2018 budget is 2.6 percent larger than last year’s $34.6 billion plan.

The budget calls for more than a $600 million increase in the state’s public pension payment, to $2.5 billion from $1.9 billion in the current fiscal year.

Christie last year called for changing the state’s education funding formula so that each district would get the equivalent of $6,599 per student. The state now follows a complicated formula that mostly benefits about 30 districts in poorer areas.


12:01 a.m.

Republican Chris Christie is set to unveil his final budget proposal as governor.

Christie will deliver his budget address Tuesday to the Democrat-led Legislature. The current fiscal year’s $34.5 billion budget expires June 30.

Unlike last year when Christie and lawmakers faced an impasse over transportation funding, this year’s spending blueprint lacks some of the same drama.

Christie has indicated he plans to make the state’s public pension payment.

One question that could be answered Tuesday is whether the two-term, term-limited governor will put forward his so-called fairness formula for school funding. That plan would equalize state funding per pupil across roughly 600 districts. The plan would mean cuts to about 30 poorer districts.

Spending increases on fighting opioid addiction could also be proposed.

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