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Lawyers argue over NJ pension increases



NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — Lawyers for retired New Jersey public employees say the state government violated a promise when it stopped giving cost-of-living increases to pensioners in 2011.

The automatic annual hikes were suspended in 2011 when Gov. Chris Christie and the Legislature struck a deal to boost payments to pension funds but also hold down costs and require public workers to contribute more.

A lower-court judge has ruled that the state was within its rights to take away the payments because the current Legislature cannot be bound to deals made by predecessors.

Lawyers for retirees argued before an appeals court in New Brunswick on Tuesday that the lower-court ruling was flawed.