Christie town hall focuses on reducing pension costs
FREEHOLD, N.J. (AP) -- Gov. Chris Christie once again pressed the need to reduce state pension and health benefit costs at a town hall event, and this time stressed the blame was on his predecessors for leaving him to pay for "the sins of the past."
"I'm like the guy who showed up for dinner at dessert and then everybody went to go to the bathroom and never came back, and I got the check," Christie told the audience at the Freehold National Guard Armory. "That's fine. That's the job I ran for and it's the job I've been elected to twice and I'm not complaining about it. But you need to know the facts."
Christie has been traveling the state selling his proposed budget plan for the upcoming fiscal year, including pressing the need to reduce health care costs to fund the state's pension liabilities. Christie is being sued by more than a dozen public sector unions for delaying promised payments into the pension system. But Christie argued Tuesday that it was his predecessors, including Govs. Christine Todd Whitman and James Florio, who hadn't paid their fair share.
The potential Republican presidential contender also argued the proposed changes would help to reverse the state's repeated credit downgrades on his watch.
"I believe if we were able to fix this problem, that our bond rating would go up significantly," he said. National Democrats have cited the downgrades as evidence of Christie's poor financial stewardship of the state.
Christie also talked Tuesday about his biggest frustrations as governor and said his inability to appoint Republican supreme court justices and the court's decisions when it comes to school funding have topped his list.
We're going to keep pushing for it, but it has been the single most frustrating part of my time as governor," he said.
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