Despite Christie Whirlwind National Spin Tour, Governor Keeps Pace with NJ Town Hall Schedule
The Star Ledger reported this week about Governor Christie’s campaign tour on behalf of Republican gubernatorial candidates and other candidates in his role as Chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association. The stumping for candidates affords Christie the advantage of marketing his brand to national audiences that he needs to woo for his contemplated run at the GOP Presidential nomination in 2016. One of the states that Christie will visit is Iowa, which holds the nation’s first presidential caucus.
In Chapter Fourteen and Fifteen of Ruthless Ambition, readers are given a glimpse of what may be in store for these national audiences—a depiction of Christie’s other national stumping tours during his first term as Governor. Christie has been characterized by some in the media as the best politician able to spin an audience since Bill Clinton.
It is likely that Christie will ballyhoo his battle against public employee unions in these other states—attempting to garner his party’s hard right, conservative support. Christie most recently failed to deliver on a promise to fund New Jersey’s pension payment obligations which he made in order to secure concessions from New Jersey State government workers. In order to avoid raising taxes, Christie decided to renege in keeping his word. [A depiction of how Christie actually created his own fiscal mess is provided in Chapter’s Eleven and Twelve of Ruthless Ambition.]
The state employee’s pension fund was put at risk when a succession of New Jersey governors from both parties decided to skip pension payments in order to claim they held the line on their budgets and curtailed tax increases. In reality, that put off paying a bill that would eventually come due with interest. Ironically, some of the money due the pension fund may have been used in instead to fund New Jersey residents’ homestead rebate checks as property tax relief.
Some New Jersey Governor’s went so far as to allow municipalities to skip their local pension payment obligations as a form of local property tax relief. This political scheme has created a budget crisis in the State with the debt and interest owed State and local pension funds estimated to be at more than $10 billion dollars.
Christie has attempted to somewhat shift the blame for the fiscal mess created by politicians on “greedy employee unions,” and has recently launched into speaking tirades against public employee health benefits as well—playing the “haves vs. the have not’s” game through the rhetoric in his public statements.
The Star-Ledger also reported that Christie is also keeping up with his Town Hall appearances throughout New Jersey. In defending his veto of a tax hike on New Jersey’s top millionaires, Christie has made known his intent to zero in on public employee benefits, including those benefits of retirees on fixed incomes, as a way to pare New Jersey’s state budgets.
Readers of Ruthless Ambition can get a glimpse of a Christie’s Town Hall meetings in Chapter Thirteen.