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Unprecedented lottery plan quietly embraced by lawmakers in budget battle

Democrats have quietly, and with little scrutiny, embraced a key component of Gov. Chris Christie's fiscal agenda, even as they feud over the details of a drug treatment bill at the center of budget negotiations that must be complete by Friday at midnight to keep New Jersey's government running. 

Christie's plan to shift the lottery proceeds to help fund public pensions has been touted as an innovative and pain-free way to inject steady revenue to the nation's worst-funded pension system and instantly reduce its liability.

But there are still concerns over what the shift may mean for the social service programs that the lottery was established to help. And it remains to be seen what the real effect of the legislation would be on the state's creditworthiness should the bill pass. 

Tim Holler