3 topics for Christie to tackle on tonight’s ‘Ask The Governor’
Gov. Chris Christie visits the New Jersey 101.5 studios tonight for another installment of the "Ask The Governor" program.
Some perennial issues could be raised, such as the Transportation Trust Fund and gasoline tax. Callers always work a few curveballs into the hour-long conversation. But among the top policy and politics topics that could be raised by host Eric Scott are ...
Atlantic City: First the Legislature didn't meet Christie's end-of-February deadline for enacting legislation giving the state sweeping powers over Atlantic City finances, which the governor says are needed for a takeover of the near-broke municipality to succeed. A month later, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto is still balking, primarily over Christie's insistence that the bill — which has already been passed by the Senate — include a provision allowing him to break and renegotiate union contracts.
Atlantic City is now less than 10 days from shuttering its government for three weeks, unable to make payroll as it runs out of cash. Police, fire and sanitation workers will be on the job, given IOUs and a promise to be paid later. Christie, Prieto and Mayor Don Guardian are engaged in a pitched battle, nobody willing to budge. Bondholders are being paid, for now, but the disagreement has the potential to affect other municipalities' credit ratings if a solution isn't found and the city eventually defaults.
“Ask The Governor” is hosted by Eric Scott. Tune in at 7 p.m. or come to NJ1015.com and watch the program live.
The governor will be taking your calls at 800-283-1015 — but the phone lines fill up quickly. More ways to to get your question heard:
• Join in our live chat at NJ1015.com — The chat will open up at 6:30 p.m.
• Tweet your questions to @NJ1015 using the hashtag #AskGov during or ahead of the show. Selected Tweets will be featured on NJ1015.com as well.
• Ahead of the program, leave your questions in the comments section below.
NJ Transit: A strike by NJ Transit rail workers was narrowly avoided. Christie said the two sides were talking and that worries about a strike's impact on the economy and commutes were alarmist, but it nevertheless took until the day before the deadline for a deal to be reached. Details are still sketchy, but the raises appear to include back pay dating to 2011, when the last contract expired. Christie said the deal won't require a fare hike in the coming fiscal year but couldn't project the impact beyond June 2017.
Since then, though, The Record reported that the agency is grappling with a $57 million budget deficit. It hopes that federal reimbursements help narrow the budget gap — but are higher fares in the coming year going to be required, after all?
The presidential race. Christie ended his presidential bid in early February but only temporarily left the national political scene. His surprise endorsement of Donald Trump hasn't exactly triggered an avalanche of like-minded support from elected officials — indeed, one of Christie's better friends among governors, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, says he might not vote for Trump if he's the Republican nominee.
But it has kept Christie in the political conversation — sometimes awkwardly, like when the governor stood behind Trump at a Super Tuesday news conference, or when Trump said Christie was on hand at a primary-night event on Christie's 30th wedding anniversary. What role is Christie playing in Trump's campaign? Will he campaign for Trump more extensively as Northeast states voting in April? And what does he think of the seemingly endless barrage of controversies, such as the attacks on the candidates' wives?