Why is this important? A study by the federal government's Justice Department found that 1/3 of defendants released before trial ended up being charged with some type of pre-trial misconduct. 1/6 were arrested for a new offense--and half of those were felonies.
The federal government allows a violent criminal who is a danger to the community to be held without bail. NJ law does not. This must change. How can we justify exposing our citizens to the risk of violent crime at the hands of those, already in custody, who we know are disposed to commit it? There is no justification for that. Let us mirror federal law. Pass bail reform now.
That is why I proposed last year to change our approach to non-violent drug offenders, and mandate treatment, not imprisonment. Together, we made this possible. The drug court program has been a success, thanks in part to your support in funding both the court and the treatment.
And I thank you for passage this past year of the Overdose Protection Act. We should not be prosecuting those Good Samaritans and health professionals who are trying to help in a life-threatening overdose situation.
Look at what happened last year in Princeton. Princeton Borough and Princeton Township consolidated into a single government. Not two tax departments, two police forces, two offices answering the phone. The savings in one year: $3 million. That's on a budget of $64 million, a 4.7% savings. And the citizens of Princeton got this: more services, despite a smaller budget, and a reduction in municipal taxes.
This is not just my opinion--the local Reorganization & Consolidation Commission said that civil service seniority rules topped the list of barriers to shared services. Let's help our towns clear away arcane rules that stand between them and lower property taxes.
Our pension system is burdened by some who collect disability retirement because they claim they are "totally and permanently disabled," but who are now working full-time. So we've established by Executive Order a special unit to prosecute pension fraud. Let's go even further to solidify our pension system and reduce costs by reforming our disability retirement system to end this fraud and abuse. This will also help us to reduce property taxes.
But I also want to assure the people of New Jersey today that what has occurred does
not define us or our state. This Administration and this Legislature will not allow the work that needs to be done to improve the people's lives in New Jersey to be delayed. I am the leader of this state and its people and I stand here today proud to be
both. And always determined to do better.
[NOTE: The "BridgeGate" scandal resulted from the closure of access lanes to the George Washington Bridge for the purpose of causing traffic jams in Fort Lee; several officials were fired].
But the job is not finished. Property taxes are still too high. So today, I ask for you to join me in enacting a new property tax relief initiative that tackles the root causes that are driving up property taxes in the first place.
First, some context: the 2% cap we've already enacted has worked for a reason. We've done it by controlling costs. We accompanied it with reform of an interest arbitration award system that needed fixing.
As you know, the interest arbitration cap was not permanent--it is set to expire this April, unless we act. So I ask you today, let us renew the cap on interest arbitration awards and make the cap permanent.
The above quotations are from 2014 Governor's State of the State speeches.
Click here for other excerpts from 2014 Governor's State of the State speeches.
Click here for other excerpts by Chris Christie.
Click here for other excerpts by other Governors.
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