By Michael Aron
Chief Political Correspondent
Gov. Chris Christie told his town hall audience about yesterday’s budget he signed and the tax increase he vetoed.
“For the fourth time in the last five years, they tried to raise income taxes on the people of New Jersey. And for the fourth time I’ve vetoed them and told them no, we’re not raising income taxes on the people of New Jersey, not on my watch,” said Christie.
At the heart of his remarks was the renewed focus on the state’s pension problem and Christie’s insistence that it needs a second fix.
“This is an unsustainable system and we need to get back to fixing it. People don’t want to hear that down at the capital but it is the truth and the numbers show that and I’m going to spend the rest of this summer traveling around the state, showing you the numbers and making the case. And because it’s my obligation, I will also propose solutions to how to fix the problem,” said Christie. “I can guarantee you one thing, I can’t tell you about the plan today because I’m not finished with it but what I will tell you is that whenever it’s released it will be universally criticized and the reason it will be is because it will inflict pain.”
The governor warned that New Jersey is becoming another Detroit and said he won’t let that happen.
“This state, because of the promises made, is heading towards catastrophe if we don’t deal with it. And so, not on my watch everybody. You want to drive this baby off the cliff when somebody else is behind the wheel, that’s your call. You can vote for somebody who will, who will sing you a sweet song and smile and whisper in your ear and then stick it to you as soon you turn your back,” said Christie.
During the question session there was an outburst from students connected to the liberal group New Jersey Working Families. As police escorted them out, Christie pushed back.
“You know what I like about this is, if it was really something heartfelt why do they all have to read it off of their iPhone?” asked Christie. “You cannot cave in to that type of conduct because when you do they just do it again and again and again.”
A second round of pension reform is something the governor first talked about in his State of the State address last January. Now it looks like it could be the next big Trenton fight for the remainder of the year.