I fought greedy unions and irresponsible spending in N.J.
You know what the problem is? It is the public sector unions who refuse to do even more compromising on pensions. If you look at the credit downgrades, they're all about long-term pension problems.
Now we've saved $120 billion in the pension system over the next 30 years on what we've done already.
But the unions continue to want more and more and more. And in a Democratic state like New Jersey, it's tough to get them to push even further.
But think about this. What the last credit report said was if the pension problem were fixed, New Jersey would be in good fiscal condition. And that's because we cut spending $2.5 billion from 16, lower than where it was in fiscal year '08.
So this is not about not having enough revenue. The government was too big. We've made it smaller. And if the pension system continues to get better, we'll be fine.
New Jersey had 0% job growth; then I created 192,000 jobs
Q: You tout your record as a Republican governor in a blue state. But under your watch, NJ has undergone 9 credit rating downgrades. The state's 44th in private sector growth. You face an employee pension crisis & NJ has the 3rd highest foreclosure rate.
CHRISTIE: If you think it's bad now, you should've seen it when I got there. The fact is, in the 8 years before I became governor, taxes and fees were raised at the state level 115 times; spending was increased 56%; and there was zero net private
sector job growth in New Jersey. Zero. For 8 years. So, what did we do? We came in, we balanced an $11 billion deficit on a $29 billion budget by cutting over 800 programs in the state budget. We brought the budget into balance with no tax increases.
In fact, we vetoed 5 income tax increases during my time as governor. And, what's happened since? 192,000 private sector jobs in the 5 years I've been governor. We have a lot of work to do in New Jersey, but I am darn proud we've brought our state back.
Don't raise minimum wage; create better-paying jobs instead
Q: In a Chamber of Commerce speech, you said, "It's time to start offending people." And there's one comment you made that a lot of people are taking offense to:
(VIDEO CLIP) CHRISTIE: I'm tired of hearing about minimum wage.
I don't think there's a mother or father sitting around a kitchen table tonight in America who are saying, "You know, honey, if our son or daughter could just make a higher minimum wage, my God, all our dreams would be realized."
Q: For people who are making $7.25 an hour, the minimum wage now, they say getting increase of $10 an hour would make a big difference in their lives and that you were being cavalier about it?
CHRISTIE: I'm saying it exactly as I see it. What we need
to do in this country is not have debate over a higher minimum wage. We have to have a debate over creating better-paying middle class jobs in the country. If that somehow doesn't comport with what people in the political elite want, well, I'm sorry.
Zero means zero: fight abuse of sick leave & pension fraud
Let's not forget the expensive practice of sick leave payouts for government employees. Sick time should be used when you're sick. If you're lucky enough to be healthy, that's your reward. Sick leave has been abused too many times, and the cost is real.
Almost a billion dollars in liability facing NJ towns--$880 million to be exact. And it will only get higher if the system is not fixed. These reforms are common sense: let's lift this billion dollar albatross off the necks of NJ's towns. Let's together
enact the "zero means zero" plan.
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.
Christie said on March 6th that the year before he took office, the state lost 119,000 private-sector jobs, labeling them "Corzine jobs losses of 2009."
Christie's number is in the ballpark. Let's look at the Republican governor's numbers and whether
Corzine is truly to blame for those lost jobs. Both the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and NJ Department of Labor show NJ had 3,209,900 private-sector jobs in December 2009. A year prior, the state had 3,325,600 private-sector jobs. That's a net loss of
Next, we need to determine whether Corzine really is to blame for those lost jobs. The first half of 2009--Corzine's last year in office--was marked by recession. The governor not only can't take all the credit for job gains, he can't pin
blame for loss solely on another administration when there are other factors at work.
Our ruling: Since the governor's number is off slightly and the claim implies that Corzine is to blame for those job losses, we give Christie a ruling of Half True.
75,000 new private sector jobs since taking office in 2010
Sandy may have stalled New Jersey's economy, but there is plenty of evidence that New Jerseyans have not let it stop our turnaround. The direction is now clear. Here is the latest economic report:
Unemployment is coming down.
2011 was our best private sector job growth year in eleven years and 2012 is also positive.
Personal income set a record high in New Jersey for the seventh quarter in a row.
Gross income tax receipts are exceeding the Administration's projections
for this fiscal year prior to Sandy.
Sales of new homes are up.
Consumer spending is up.
Industrial production is up.
Since I took this office, participation in New Jersey's labor force is higher than the nation as a whole and the number of
people employed has grown. That means that more people have the confidence to be out looking for jobs, and more people actually have jobs. In total, we have added nearly 75,000 private sector jobs in New Jersey since we took office in January 2010.
Supports Urban Hub program and Economic Redevelopment Grants
Continuing to act on his commitment to create jobs for New Jersey families, Governor Chris Christie today signed Senate Bill 2972 to expand job-creating tax incentives and provide an immediate economic boost to the state: the Economic Redevelopment and
Growth Grant (ERGG); the Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit Act.
S-2972 expands the ERGG program to make growth areas in the Meadowlands eligible for ERGG grants, adding the Meadowlands to the other areas of the state where growth is encouraged and
eligibility for ERGG grants is already provided, including State Planning Areas, Pinelands growth areas, transit villages and closed federal military bases.
In addition, the legislation also makes several changes to the Urban
Hub program: increasing the credit for residential projects from 20% to 35% of eligible costs over 10 years; and allowing the tax credits to be carried forward for up to 20 years.
Garden State Growth Zones to attract new private investment
Garden State Growth Zones. Combine existing economic zones to create a super zone to attract new private investment and jobs.
Putting NJ Back to Work. Focus on worker retraining for unemployed New Jerseyans and connecting with them with
Provide grants for public colleges for renewable energy related curriculum and training.
Renew NJ and the Choose NJ Energy Campaign. Market and sell NJ's resources to energy producers, innovators and developers.
Source: 2009 Gubernatorial campaign website, christiefornj.com
, Nov 3, 2009
NJ Partnership for Action: attract quality-paying jobs
Under Jon Corzine's watch, New Jersey's unemployment rate has nearly doubled, jobs and businesses are leaving the state and families are struggling to make ends meet. Chris Christie is committed to making
New Jersey competitive again by attracting quality-paying jobs, expanding new industries, and promoting New Jersey as a good place to do business.
Highlights from the
Plan to Get New Jersey Working Again:
Cut taxes and the cost of doing business in New Jersey
Make New Jersey's health care more affordable for small businesses