In a state of high taxes and big government, New Jerseyans are mired in the bureaucracies of its politics. But the power of elections installed the face of change, Chris Christie, as Governor of New Jersey last November.
Christie ran counter to the usual tax and spend platform. As Governor, he’s determined to make New Jersey attractive again to people and capital. He wants to cut spending, cut taxes, cut the budget, cut the line-up of people on the dole, and put people back to work, put businesses back in business, put jobs back in the state, and make people proud, once again, to be from New Jersey. Who wouldn’t be for all that?
New Jersey is among the bluest of the blue states. Voters there usually vote Democrat but cast their ballots the other way when things get bad in New Jersey. And they are. People and businesses are leaving the state. Tax revenues are down. Real estate and corporate taxes are through the roofs of residential homes and business. State budgets run in the red in support of benefits, pensions, and medical insurance for government workers. Unemployment stands at 9.8%. And that counts only the people who are actively looking for work. Total unemployment is much higher.
And the teachers union has a strangle hold on the state. While the state lost 121,000 jobs last year, education added 11,000 jobs in local schools. If spending is to be controlled at all, the state must curb spending in education. Governor Christie has proposed a freeze on salaries to the NJEA (New Jersey Education Association). A freeze on salaries means salaries are kept constant. It does not mean that education jobs are cut. We are in a recession; entitlements and special treatments in New Jersey need to go. The powerful NJEA didn’t like the idea, even spent its own big bucks in attempts to keep him and his ideas out of office in November.
According to a Wall Street Journal article, Governor Christie showed his mettle in a recent meeting with the powerful teachers union. NJEA President, Barbara Keshishian, came to his office to express regrets over an e-mail sent by NJEA union officials. The note was a mock prayer for the governor’s death. This is unacceptable behavior towards a public figure, whether expressed in jest or not. Christie accepted her apology and inquired whether the sender would be fired for his inappropriate actions. Ms Keshishian asked why in the world the man should be fired, to which Christie announced that ‘this meeting is over.’
New Jersey is in need of principled, fiscally restrained, fair, honest, and competent public servants-ones with zero tolerance for small minds, disingenuous people, and public corruption. Such leaders come as parts per million in New Jersey. Christie admits New Jersey is the failed experiment in America on taxes and big government. And plans to help New Jersey change its ways.