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Dems Give Christie Speech a Thumbs-Down [AUDIO]

New Jersey Democratic leaders were not exactly thrilled by Gov. Chris Christie’s State of the State speech on Tuesday.

NJ Senate President Steve Sweeney
State Sen. Pres. Steve Sweeney (David Matthau, Townsquare Media NJ)

In the address, Christie said the state needs to reduce its rising pension costs in order to fund other programs, and he also proposed some form of a property tax initiative. [SEE FULL TEXT]

“We made a commitment to fund the pension system, and for him to say we can do all these programs but we gotta choose between the pension system, funding the pension system and paying our bills — that wasn’t an honest conversation, that’s a bait and switch,” said state Sen. President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford).

Sweeney said Democrats will not defund their commitment to the pensions.

“We’re not going to turn around to the people that we asked and say, ‘I’m sorry, we knew we were going to have a tough time but we really don’t want to deal with it anymore, what we want to do is do everything else with your money,’” Sweeney said. “We’re not doing that.”

Meanwhile, new Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto (D-Secaucus) seemed mystified by the governor’s call for a property tax initiative.

NJ Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto
State Asm. Spkr. Vinnie Prieto (David Matthau, Townsquare Media NJ)

“Repeatedly we have sent him bills for property tax relief, and he has vetoed them,” Prieto said. “What he’s talking about is just a misdirection.”

Prieto also attacked Christie’s stance on crime prevention.

“We have sent him tons of gun bills; he has vetoed those,” Prieto said. “It’s just different sound bites that, to me, don’t mean much. We need to have an honest conversation about doing these things.”

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