Gov. Christie returns to a mess of his own making

Today, just one week after suspending his failed presidential campaign, Governor Christie will unveil his latest state budget. Christie returns to New Jersey after spending much of last year and nearly all of the year so far in a long-shot bid for the Republican nomination. In many respects he returns to a mess of his own making.

New Jersey faces a massive structural deficit that prevents it from meeting its obligations or making the smart investments that lead to broadly shared prosperity. Because we haven’t raised the revenue we need or taken advantage of opportunities to win outside funding, New Jersey’s credit rating is in shambles and its working families are grappling with record poverty, stagnant wages, and the highest foreclosure rate in the nation.

Here are just a few of the poor choices the Christie Administration has made over the last six years, and their consequences:

GIVEAWAYS TO THE WEALTHY

Since Governor Christie was elected in 2010, corporations and the wealthy have been awarded or promised over $15.2 BILLION in tax breaks:

MISSED OPPORTUNITIES

At the same time, New Jersey has missed nearly $10 BILLION in opportunities for funding through mismanagement or misguided priorities:

  • Lost $145 million in federal Sandy relief when the Christie Administration botched its HUD application
  • Lost $170 million in federal matching funds after cutting Heat & Eat Programs
  • Missed out on $400 million in federal education funding when Christie botched its “Race to the Top” application
  • Gave away 8.6 billion to polluter Exxon when Christie Administration settled an $8.9 billion suit for $225 million.

WHAT POOR CHOICES MEAN FOR NJ’S WORKING FAMILIES

New Jersey’s giveaways to the wealthy and well-connected paired with missed opportunities have left our state unable to meet its commitments or invest in its future. As a result of revenue and funding lost or given away by the Christie Administration:

  • NJ’s foreclosure rate leads the nation, with double the national average.
  • Poverty in New Jersey reached a 50 year high, with 2.8 million NJ residents unable to meet basic needs.
  • 3,000 more NJ kids were diagnosed with lead poisoning as Christie refuses to enforce our state mandated safeguards.
  • 11,000 of NJ’s struggling families just lost access to food stamps.
  • NJ bus and train fares – already highest in the nation – are up another 9%, hitting 1 in 10 NJ workers.
  • Under his leadership, NJ has received a record 9th credit downgrade.
  • Property tax relief stuck at HALF of pre-Christie Administration levels.
  • Average tuition for NJ college students is up 14% (or $1,600) since 2008.

Six years of poor choices have wrecked New Jersey’s finances and made it harder than ever for working families to get by. If New Jersey is going to catch up to the rest of the country, our elected leaders will need to reverse course and end wasteful tax breaks for the wealthy and well-connected. That’s the only way New Jersey can meet its obligations, protect its most vulnerable, and invest in an economic recovery everyone can share in.