Chris Christie in 2014 Governor's State of the State speeches

On Crime: Bail reform: Keep dangerous criminals in jail until trial

We must do everything we can to swiftly jail those violent criminals who bring additional murder and disruption to innocent victims. Almost two years ago, I announced a proposed constitutional amendment to modify the right to bail in NJ. The concept is simple: NJ courts should have the right to keep dangerous criminals off the streets and in jail until trial.

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.

Source: 2014 State of the State address to N.J. Legislature Jan 14, 2014

On Drugs: Drug courts: mandate treatment, not imprisonment

We must reach out a hand of compassion and common sense to those who commit non-violent crimes. We must do a better job of reclaiming their lives and putting them back on the road to success and engagement with society. My belief is simple: every human life is precious, and no life is disposable.

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.

Source: 2014 State of the State address to N.J. Legislature Jan 14, 2014

On Government Reform: Consolidate duplicative town governments into single towns

We have worked with the Senate to try to pass real consolidation and civil service reform. We haven't gotten it done in the Assembly. [We should] provide local government with the authority to run their governments like a business: consolidate, share services, cut duplication and ultimately actually reduce property taxes.

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.

Source: 2014 State of the State address to N.J. Legislature Jan 14, 2014

On Jobs: 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.

Source: 2014 State of the State address to N.J. Legislature Jan 14, 2014

On Local Issues: BridgeGate: Mistakes were clearly made, but don't define us

The last week has certainly tested this Administration. Mistakes were clearly made. And as a result, we let down the people we are entrusted to serve. I know our citizens deserve better. Much better. I am the governor and I am ultimately responsible for all that happens on my watch--both good and bad. Without a doubt we will cooperate with all appropriate inquiries to ensure this breach of trust does not happen again.

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].

Source: 2014 State of the State address to N.J. Legislature Jan 14, 2014

On Tax Reform: Cap property tax and interest arbitration awards

One of the things that drove people out of New Jersey in the past decade was high property taxes. In 2010, together, we capped them. The 2% cap has worked. In these past two years, property tax growth has been the lowest in two decades.

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.

Source: 2014 State of the State address to N.J. Legislature Jan 14, 2014

The above quotations are from 2014 Governor's State of the State speeches.
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Page last updated: Jan 14, 2015