POLITICS & GOVERNMENT

NJ Workers’ Voices Chair Says Christie Hasn’t Helped Working Families

Opponents of Gov. Chris Christie are hoping to get some help in the gubernatorial race from NJ Workers’ Voices, a Super PAC that bills itself as having a progressive agenda. NJ Workers’ Voices Chair Alicia D’Alessandro told NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider that the organization strives to give regular working people in New Jersey a voice in elections and policy making.

D’Alessandro said NJ Workers’ Voices was founded as an independent political organization to support New Jersey workers and their concerns about issues that affect them. “We’re actually gonna be an organization that exists well beyond Nov. 5 and election day. This isn’t about one particular candidate, either supporting or opposing,” she said. “We want to make sure that regular working folks around the state have a voice not just in our elections but in policy making in Trenton.”

Christie has touted his relationship with Democrats in the past as proof of bipartisanship that exists in New Jersey politics, but D’Alessandro said if he had his way, Christie would have made changes to policy that would’ve negatively impacted many in New Jersey. “If you look at 2010, he actually attempted to cut unemployment benefits for New Jersey workers at a time when New Jersey was pretty hard hit by the recession. And the only thing that stopped him was the Democratic legislature,” she said. “So it’s important to look at the areas where they disagree, where Democrats have acted to prevent Christie from moving forward on some of the more harmful pieces of his proposed agenda.”

D’Alessandro said NJ Workers’ Voices hopes to promote the idea of looking out for the regular working people of the state. “Not just being concerned with the people who can afford to max out to political campaigns, not just being concerned with the wealthiest people who haven’t really struggled under any economy,” she said. “But really being concerned with the nearly 400,000 people in our state who desperately want to find a job and can’t.”

When asked if she believes the incentive programs of the Christie administration are helping in the area of job creation, D’Alessandro said no. “I don’t think paying a company either subsidies or tax incentives to move their operations across the street is growing any New Jersey jobs. I think the number of bipartisan jobs bills that Gov. Christie vetoed would have helped bring down our unemployment rate significantly. But he’s chosen to offer tax breaks to big business and I don’t think that’s helping, we don’t think that’s helping working families around the state,” she said.

D’Alessandro agrees with the governor that property taxes are too high in the state. But she said tax relief should have been Christie’s top priority and it hasn’t been. “Property taxes are up 19 percent for working families. And he’s cut more than a billion dollars in education, which again impacts our local communities,” she said. “He hasn’t made tax relief for workers a top priority but big business is still getting tax relief.”