Chris Christie on Budget & Economy
Christie promised voters, "you'll always know who I am," and spoke about his anti-abortion views.
"The rich are doing fine," he said, adding the party shouldn't cater to the wealthy at the expense of middle-income workers.
CHRISTIE: Well, you have to remember what we inherited five years ago--an $11 billion deficit budget, 10 years of consecutive tax increases at the state level. This was an awful mess. And now, what have we done? We have five balanced budgets in a row. We had $2.3 billion in tax cuts to the businesses of New Jersey, 143,000 new private sector jobs and unemployment rate that's gone from 9.7% down to 6.5%. So, we still have work to do in NJ, no question. But we've gotten a lot of things done over the course of the last 5 years. I'm very proud of that record and I'm working every day to make that record even better as go forward. There will always be the naysayers. But I'm there getting the job done every day and I think that's what the people of NJ liked about us.
After getting the 2% cap, Christie wasn't done with school spending. He put in place a salary cap on school superintendents' contracts--through a rule, without the legislature's input. It would mean $9.8 million in savings statewide for school districts, around 10% of the combined $100 million they paid in 2010.
And what was the reaction of the Democrat-controlled N.J. legislature? Did its members hail Christie for his fiscal rectitude? Of course not. In fact, they cited the unexpected windfall as proof that the state didn't need austerity. "The governor has balanced his budgets on the backs of the middle class, now this gives us an opportunity to undo that," said State Sen. Paul Sarlo. Eventually, the decision on how to use the extra tax revenue was largely taken out of Christie's hands; the New Jersey Supreme Court, apparently agreeing there was no need for austerity, ordered Christie to increase education funding by $500 million--the same amount as the estimated tax windfall.
A: The first thing is that the president had to get involved personally. And what I found in New Jersey, was there is no substitute for the three leaders in the room having to look at each other and having to hash this out. And everybody's got to put skin in the game. I mean, I gave on things that I wanted. Obviously, the Democratic Senate president and the Democratic speaker gave on things they wanted, and we came to a compromise that didn't violate our principles. And that's the key. You can't ask people to violate their principles. And so there has to be a way to find principled outcome where people are also compromising. And what the specifics of that's going to be are going to be up to the president, the speaker and Sen. Reid. But they need to get in the room and finish this off.
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