Reaction To Christie’s State Of The State Address
A sampling of political reaction to the Governor’s State of the State address.
Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D)
“The governor’s speech was like listening to a tale of ‘Alec in Wonderland’ that described a separate reality. His emphasis on Hurricane Sandy ignores a record of failure that includes the highest unemployment rate in 35 years, the second highest rate of mortgage foreclosures, the fifth worst rate of growth in personal income, a poverty rate that has grown every year he’s been in office and a shrinking middle class.
“The reality is the economic figures have grown worse and the hard conditions they impose on everyday people have become more severe.
“The governor’s failure to address these issues over three years has had real-life consequences for the people of New Jersey. His refusal to acknowledge the terrible reality they create will allow the problems to grow worse. And his attempt to describe a record of success is a bad sign that he won’t do what is needed to correct his record or to address the needs of middle class families and working people in the year ahead. He’s denying the terrible reality of his policy failures.
“The governor needs to get real about his failed record and get serious with policies and actions that will undo the damage he’s done.”
Senator Richard J. Codey (D-Essex/Morris)
“Hurricane Sandy was a serious and devastating storm and its impact on the state will be felt for a long time to come. We stand united in the effort to ensure that those who were impacted recover and that we as a state rebuild. That is what we heard today, and we agree.
“What you didn’t hear is that unemployment is at 9.6 percent, the fourth highest in the nation and the highest among our neighboring states. What you didn’t hear, is that under this administration, we face a budget shortfall that is at $705 million, and could top $2 billion if revenues continue to come in at the current pace.
“What you didn’t hear, is that because of the policies of this governor, our credit rating has been downgraded three times and we are currently on the watch list for further downgrades to our credit. What you didn’t hear is that the state ranks second in the nation in foreclosures, the poverty rate in New Jersey has increased every year he has been governor and now sits at 11.4 percent. What you didn’t hear is that we rank 47th in economic growth behind nearly every other state in the nation.
“Those are the facts that you didn’t get to hear today.”
Senator Paul Sarlo, chairman of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee
“While we all join with the governor in our shared concern for the victims of Sandy, it is just plain wrong for him to use the storm as an excuse for his failed economic and fiscal record. The governor has fallen far short of his unrealistic revenue projections for seven consecutive months, including the five months before Sandy hit. He created a budget deficit of $705 million that could grow as high as $2 billion if revenues continue to flatline. This is a man-made disaster-in-the-making that has nothing to do with the natural disaster of the hurricane.
“In fact, the economic and fiscal impact of Sandy is still an unknown.
“What we do know is that the budget gap is growing by the month and the governor continues to avoid facing up to this reality. His speech today continues the denial of fiscal policies that just aren’t real.”
Senator Joe Kyrillos (R- Monmouth)
The Governor’s laser-like focus on rebuilding the lives of residents impacted by Sandy is heartening. We are lucky that in one of our darkest hours, we have a strong and decisive leader to chart the path back to life as it was before the storm, and his handling of the immediate and long-term response will certainly be the hallmark of his legacy.
Yet even in the absence of Sandy and contrary to the near constant sniping of his Democratic critics, this Governor has succeeded where so many of his predecessors had failed in laying the foundation for an affordable, prosperous New Jersey. After years of over spending, over taxing, and focusing on anything but our state’s business climate and fiscal well being, we have in Chris Christie a leader who “gets it”. He understands that permanent jobs aren’t created by passing a lot of laws or spending other people’s money, they’re created when job creators believe that New Jersey is a safe investment.
For anyone to say that 75,000 private sector jobs created, $120 billion saved taxpayers by pension and benefits reform, and the first meaningful limits on property taxes isn’t a record worth cheering is absurd. I encourage the Governor’s critics to stop with the nasty, partisan posturing, leave the campaigning for the fall, and work with the Governor to continue the progress.
Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington)
“The reason the Governor’s response to Hurricane Sandy was well-received is because he put the divisive politics of the past aside and worked together on a bipartisan basis to help our state respond to the storm. In order to get our state firmly back on track, he needs to take the same approach in his economic, fiscal and social policies.
“For three years, middle class families and seniors have seen rising costs, stagnating wages, escalating property taxes and disappearing job opportunities. As leaders on both sides of the political aisle can surely agree, we need to reverse this course.
“Rebuilding our storm-ravaged communities is of paramount concern, but we cannot ignore the problems we faced before Sandy and permit them to worsen. Rising property taxes and a continuing unemployment crisis are problems we must address, and I am hopeful the Governor will join with us in bipartisan spirit to do so.
“We need a broad approach that addresses our underlying economic crisis so that we will be better positioned to help all our citizens–whether it’s our shore towns, our struggling middle-class families, or our senior citizens.
“I hope the kinder, gentler Chris Christie that emerged after Sandy will be the one that remains as we move forward and address these challenges.”
Assemblyman John Wisniewski, Chairman of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee
shown in response to the devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. But in assessing the State of the State, I and residents all across our state continue to be frustrated that his leadership has been missing-in-action on so many other problems that are hurting New Jersey’s hard-working families.
New Jersey homeowners are frustrated that the Governor slashed property tax relief. The men and women across our state who need a job are frustrated that his only response to their plight has been to call for tax cuts for the wealthiest in our state. The growing number of families whose homes are threatened with foreclosure are frustrated that his administration sat on federal funds that were meant to help them keep their homes.
The state’s working poor are frustrated that he raised their taxes and twice vetoed tax relief for them because he wanted tax cuts for those who were better off. New Jersey’s women are frustrated that their access to health care was diminished so that the Governor could polish his conservative credentials with out-of-state Republican activists. New Jersey’s gay and lesbian community is frustrated by a Governor who vetoes marriage equality and believes their civil rights should be subject to a vote.
As we enter the fourth year of the Governor’s term, my hope is that the Governor’s experience with Hurricane Sandy has taught him that it is those in New Jersey who are struggling and not the well-off who need his attention and leadership.”
Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande (R-Monmouth)
“As a Monmouth County legislator who represents families and businesses who have lost everything to Hurricane Sandy, I agree with Governor Christie that our top priority is helping New Jersey recover and rebuild from the worst natural disaster of our lifetime.
“We must work in bipartisan cooperation at all levels of government to help those victimized by this historic storm and rebuild homes, businesses and communities smarter and stronger than ever.
“We can accomplish this monumental task while continuing to work on ways to reduce property taxes to make our state more affordable, grow the economy and create jobs.”
Assembly Republican Budget Officer Declan O’Scanlon (Monmouth)
“Hurricane Sandy has drastically changed the whole dynamic of priorities in New Jersey for the upcoming year. Issues such as education, sick pay reform and shared services will remain important, but the governor’s address today properly places our recovery effort as the top priority. Addressing the needs of residents, communities and businesses devastated by the superstorm requires a bipartisan approach. Our collective voices need to keep up the pressure on the federal government to deliver on the funding our state desperately needs.
“The governor is right on point when he says we can accomplish much more for the people of this state by working together instead of partisan bickering. The road to recovery will take some time, but we are resolved to seeing this through so that everyone who needs help gets it. The entire state has a vested interest in rebuilding and helping the Jersey Shore recover. Its tourism trade and small business community are key parts of New Jersey’s economic engine that create jobs and generate revenues for the state. The plan is clear. Now it’s up to us to execute it.”
Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce (R-Morris, Essex and Passaic)
“New Jersey is regrouping from a natural disaster the likes of which we have never before experienced. In the immediate aftermath, everyone acted with a common purpose and worked toward the common goal of getting our state back and running. However, as the governor pointed out, our job of helping people recover by rebuilding their communities is just beginning. As a society of compassion, we need to maintain our focus on finishing the job.
“We must use our collective voices and keep up the pressure on the federal government to deliver on the funding our state desperately needs. The governor is right on point when he says we can accomplish much more for the people of this state by working together instead of partisan bickering.”
“Governor Christie has successfully addressed significant issues during his first three years in office, and the people of New Jersey believe he is more than capable of leading our state as we rebuild lives and restore hope.”