The New York Times has a stinging assessment today of Chris Christie’s governorship, saying the confrontational governor promised to eschew budget tricks used by his predecessor—but has adopted them instead, and to no good effect: The state’s economy remains highly distressed.
The Times reminds readers that Christie once criticized the budget tactics of his predecessor, John Corzine:
But in four years in office, Governor Christie, a Republican, has relied on the same kind of short-term strategies, diverting money for things like affordable housing and property tax rebates to balance the budget, and tapping funds intended for development of new sources of energy to keep the lights on in state buildings.
Mr. Christie made headlines when he declared he was canceling construction of a tunnel under the Hudson River to halt runaway costs, but he has issued more debt for transportation projects than any of his predecessors. Overall spending has risen 14 percent, and while state surpluses nationwide are growing, New Jersey’s has shrunk to its lowest percentage in a decade. The state’s bond rating is among the worst in the country.
The Times mnoted that a June analysis labeled Jersey as one of two “distressed” states in the country, and adds: “Spending continues to expand. Mr. Christie’s budget for 2014, at just shy of $33 billion, will reach the second-highest amount in state history and more than Governor Corzine’s did in his last two years in office.” But he’s very good at yelling at teachers!