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Democrats find fault with Christie’s big speech



TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie received enthusiastic support from fellow Republicans and polite applause from Democrats as he delivered his State of the State message.

The annual address by the Republican governor was given Tuesday as state and federal authorities investigate an apparent political payback scheme carried out by Christie associates.

Christie touched briefly on the scandal at the start of the 46-minute speech.

Democrats responded harshly to the governor’s proposal that changes be enacted to reduce escalating pension and debt service costs. Assembly Democratic Leader Lou Greenwald says a 2011 agreement requires the governor to make a pension payment of about $2.3 billion.

Republicans had praise for Christie’s proposal to permanently cap the amount public safety unions can be awarded when an arbitrator is called to settle their contracts.