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Either ‘in body bags’ or just plain broke, everyone’s leaving NJ

Gov. Chris Christie joined New Jersey 101.5's Eric Scott Monday. March 27 for "Ask the Governor" (Louis C. Hochman / Townsquare Media)
Gov. Chris Christie joined New Jersey 101.5’s Eric Scott Monday. March 27 for “Ask the Governor” (Louis C. Hochman / Townsquare Media)

I’m not angry with Chris Christie. I don’t hate Chris Christie. In fact I was one of the last people to defend him in this state, particularly when it came to the Bridgegate scandal.

I know in government bureaucracy, the right hand can sometimes not know what the left hand is doing and I thought it was entirely possible that he really didn’t know what his underlings were up to. I’ve also said that I felt for him in this regard: he went in with good intentions. What happened along the way was just politics as usual, and sometimes that can be like whitewater rafting that propels you down a particular branch of a river so quickly that you don’t even understand how and why you got there.

That said, I am disappointed in what he has chosen as his exit strategy. By that I mean his newfound dedication to eradicating the heroin epidemic in this state. It just seems like a cheap shot. Low-hanging fruit. I mean, who could argue the importance of the drug issue? This can allow him to leave a profound and lasting legacy.

But there is another epidemic here in NJ: the growing population of people who cannot afford to live here anymore. There are so many financial strains that affect so many more of us every day that he seems simply to have forgotten about. And while it’s true that not being able to pay your property taxes won’t cause you to die in a heap on the floor like a heroin overdose will, come on. There’s so much that needs to be fixed in this state!

Gov. Christie could have made the hero exit just as triumphant had he helped the constituents that he promised all those years ago rather than take up a new cause célèbre that has hundreds, if not thousands of organizations already on its team. While it’s admirable that Christie has lent his significant renown (or notoriety, depending on how you view him) and dubious influence to this very noble fight, we really needed him to focus on finances. He’s the only one who could’ve saved New Jersey from the financial mess that it’s in, particularly when it comes to property taxes — inarguably the most odious of expenditures for almost all of us.

Most frustrating, is that I believe he really does understand the scope of the problem and I know for SURE he understood what needed to be done. So I don’t know if it was distraction, frustration, boredom, or a combination of all of those that caused him to give up the fight. But it’s clear it doesn’t really matter anymore. To him. It’s not like he just put the problems aside; it’s as if he put them AWAY. For good.

Simply put, The huge financial burdens put on all NJ residents have made it prohibitive to live here. Many of us are on the brink of insolvency. And at the risk of sounding hyperbolic, we have lost all hope. More people than ever will simply leave New Jersey taking precious resources with them — by that I mean money, well-rooted families, brains, businesses, not to mention our unique culture. More people will leave NJ to seek financial security than will ever leave in body bags due to heroin overdoses.

I know what you’re thinking: who cares about losing residents to other states when we’re talking about people dying? In comparison, it does seem like I am being discompassionate or glib. But think about this: after the last one of us is gone, Will there even be anybody left to save?

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