(Trenton) – In anticipation of Governor Chris Christie's State of the State address tomorrow, New Jersey Democratic State Committee Chairman John Currie is outlining some of issues that deserve the governor's attention -- many that Chris Christie said he would support; that is, before he changed his tune and left the state for all or part of 137 days last year.
When presidents and other executives deliver their annual assessments on the state of affairs, they often confidently proclaim that conditions are strong or getting stronger. If reality serves as a guide, that will not be the case in New Jersey. In fact, the governor's frequent absences and preoccupation with Republican politics -- not to mention the myriad scandals he created -- beg the question: how would Chris Christie know the true state of the state when he is so often elsewhere?
During last year's address, Christie sidestepped questions about his involvement in the apparent political payback scheme that shut down lanes on the George Washington Bridge, threatening public safety. And, since that time, he has fought efforts to obtain basic information about his administration's operations, continued to bully constituents and members of the media, and unrepentantly abused the powers and resources of his public office.
"Governor Christie has been an unmitigated disaster for our state. While he wastes taxpayer dollars in a shameless effort at self promotion, his policies trample the hopes and dreams of New Jersey families. In the wake of his hypocrisy, Sandy survivors have been left out in the cold and pensioners were robbed of funds they were promised. Meanwhile, his economic record is one of repeated credit downgrades, increased property tax burdens, and stunted job growth," said Chairman Currie. "The true state of the state is vulnerable and neglected and, for this reason, the governor should really strike an apologetic tone."
Currie outlined a few steps the governor should take during his state of the state address to restore the state's shattered sense of trust:
- Encourage Republican state legislators to vote their conscience on the upcoming override of his veto of meaningful reform of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which passed the Statehouse with unanimous support.
- Promise to revisit the Sandy Bill of Rights he vetoed, so that storm survivors may obtain information about the status of their claims, people have greater rights to appeal if they’re denied funding, and regulators can clearly see how funds were allocated.
- Offer a realistic plan for funding the $2.4 billion in pension payments that the governor promised but then withheld -- a plan that does not include more cuts, more finger-pointing at his predecessors, or other excuses that put the priorities of Republican presidential primary voters ahead of New Jersey's interests.
- Restore funding to the Transportation Trust Fund, which would allow desperately needed improvements to roads and bridges, as well as other new projects that would stimulate New Jersey's sputtering economy.
- Commit to responsibly lowering property tax burdens on New Jersey families, which actually increased nearly 19 percent under Christie.
- Pledge to stop the arrogant and potentially illegal abuses of power and resources that have embarrassed the state and tied up legal and legislative channels with ethical scandals, investigations and litigation.