Christie Says the State Will Not ‘Close Down’ [POLL]
A New Jersey court will hear arguments June 25 in a lawsuit seeking to stop Gov. Chris Christie from slashing the current fiscal year's pension payment from a projected $1.6 billion to pay $696 million, knocking this year's budget out of balance. Christie said Monday night that a negative ruling by the court will not result in a government shutdown.
Appearing on Townsquare Media's 'Ask the Governor' program, Christie said he expects the state to prevail in the case, however, avoiding a ruling that would knock this year's budget out of balance.
"A trial court decision is not going to close down the New Jersey government," the governor said. "We would proceed to pass a budget and continue to appeal."
If Christie is unsuccessful in defending his position in court, the Fiscal Year 2015 will be out of whack. Next fiscal year's payment was to be $2.25 billion, but the governor says he'll contribute $681 million. Earlier this month, Christie said there is no Plan B if a judge rules against him in the pension payment case. He reiterated that Monday.
"There are no alternatives," Christie said. "Nor have you seen --since I came out with what I said after the budget problem was announced-- have you seen any alternatves proposed by the other side."
Several Democratic lawmakers have proposed increasing taxes on the wealthy to raise the revenue to make the pension payment. The governor has consistently said he will not hike taxes, but few choices would remain if he needs to find almost $2.5 billion to get the state through the end of the next fiscal year. Monday, Christie continued to insist there will be no tax increases on his watch.
"I am not going to raise taxes on the people of New Jersey to pay for a broken, bloated pension system and a Cadillac health care system," Christie explained.
The State Constitution requires that the state have a signed and balanced budget by midnight June 30.
FULL PROGRAM AUDIO 6/16/14 ASK THE GOVERNOR