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At what cost?

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is planning to make his annual “State of the State” address next week.

While he rattles off his perceived accomplishments, he should discuss the number of New Jersey state and local government workers leaving the workplace.

Retirements among New Jersey state and local workers increased by 11 percent in 2011 – the highest rate in the past decade.

Nearly 12,000 people enrolled in the Public Employee Retirement System, compared to 10, 705 in 2010.

Christie signed legislation raising health care payments and pensions for workers. Those public employees got out before they were penalized for doing their jobs. Those who are still working say they will manage the best they can with the new costs.

The next time Christie starts his tough guy talk about how he took on the unions and balanced the budget -- he needs to answer: At what cost?

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