Christie told the audience that the state is making a $2.5 billion payment to the pension fund this fiscal year – the largest in the history of the state. Alluding to the lack of entitlement reform on the federal level, Christie said New Jersey should set an example.

“The same thing the federal government refuses to do we need to set an example to do in New Jersey. If we expect the people in Washington, D.C., to finally step up to the plate and meet their obligations and tell us the truth on both sides of the aisle, then we better do it ourselves in our own state or we’re nothing but hypocrites,” he told the crowd.

“This is not about me, this is about the next person, whoever he or she is, and what we’re going to leave them to deal with. So we can ignore it if you like, but it’s not going away and it will impact each and every one of you and your businesses and your employees,” he added.

Christie challenged the legislature to leave the state in better fiscal shape for the next generation.

“It is not good enough for us to use up the great resources of our state and this country for our own creature comforts and benefit and say, ‘well, the kids are smart, they’ll figure it out.’ No one did that to us. They gave us a leg up,” he said. “They gave us an opportunity to inherit a greater country than the one they were given. We are now at that crossroads, everybody, because these problems don’t get smaller, they get bigger.”