Gov. Christie wants to avoid fiscal disaster [AUDIO]
One day after signing a new state budget into law for fiscal year 2015, Gov. Chris Christie told an overflow crowd at a town hall meeting in Caldwell that more public worker pension and health benefits are needed to have the state avoid a fiscal disaster.
He said under Obamacare - starting three years from now, "the state of New Jersey - your tax money - will pay a $261 million fine to the federal government for giving health benefits on the public dole, that are too rich."
According to the governor, "by year four of the phase-in, we will pay $837 million per year to the federal government for the right to keep providing this plan to public sector workers."
Christie told attendees "that's $837 million that doesn't go to hospitals, $837 million that doesn't go to K to 12 schools, $837 million that doesn't go to our colleges or our universities."
The governor said in order to fix the state's fiscal woes, he won't raise taxes, because what we need to do is honestly deal with the problem.
"We started to deal with it in 2011 and we made some progress, but we've got more work to do. This is an unsustainable system and we need to get back to fixing it," he said.
Christie said "people don't want to hear that down at the state capital, but it is the truth and the numbers show that, and I'm going to spend the rest of this summer traveling around the state, showing you the numbers and making the case."
In the coming weeks, the governor plans to propose solutions to fix the problem. He said the solutions won't be popular, and will be heavily criticized because "it will inflict pain - because there is no other way to fix a severe problem like this."
"If we want to make our economy grow in this state, we've to be more competitive, and that can't be by raising taxes - I don't want New Jersey stuck in the mud, I don't want us not moving forward, I want us growing, and that's going to mean we're going to have to do some hard things - that's what I've been left to do," Christie said. "This state, because of the promises made, is heading towards catastrophe if we don't deal with it."
He also said he'll do everything in his power to avoid having that happen.
"Not on my watch everybody," he said. "You want to drive this baby off a cliff when somebody else is behind the wheel, that's your call, you can vote for somebody who will sing you a sweet song and smile and whisper in your ear, and then stick it to you as soon as you turn your back. That's not going to be me, I'm going to tell you what I think, and what I think needs to be done, and I'm going to do the best I can to try and do it."