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Christie Hammers Dems' Inaction, Prods Romney at Town Hall

Gov. Chris Christie promoted his Middle-Class Reform Agenda and called on Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to make a stronger case for his presidency to the American people at a town hall event in Elmwood Park Tuesday.

Gov. Chris Christie came out swinging at the state legislature Tuesday during a town hall in Elmwood Park, criticizing its inaction on a slew of proposals that comprise his "Middle-Class Reform Agenda,"—namely tax cuts, ethics reform, ending sick leave payouts for government employees and closing property tax cap loopholes.

The New Jersey governor's hardline approach to pushing Democrats toward government and tax reform even extended beyond state borders when, during the event's question and answer portion, he suggested Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's campaign might benefit from taking a more combative approach toward President Barack Obama's policies.

As governor, Christie said his top priority is to provide tax relief for families making up to $400,000, and flatly stated that Democratic legislators will "never" cut taxes unless forced to do so, likening their fiscal policies to the cons of the character Wimpy from the "Popeye" cartoons.

“Wimpy would always say ‘I’d be happy to pay you tomorrow for a hamburger today,'" Christie said. "That’s what the Democrats are like. 'I’d be happy to spend your money today and I’ll give you a tax cut tomorrow.' Well, the spending happens and the tax cutting never comes."

Christie said that until New Jersey's Democratic legislators stop squeezing taxpayers for money, the state won't be able to compete with neighboring states where taxes are lower.

“How are we going to be competitive to create more jobs and keep people here if we continue to conduct ourselves in that way?" said Christie, whose plan purports to save $775 for the average New Jersey family. "We can’t.”

Christie also touted his support for ethics reform in government, which he called "long overdue."

"I proposed comprehensive ethics reform 742 days ago and at the time, Sen. [Stephen] Sweeney said, 'We’re going to give the governor's package a thorough review and hearing because there’s lots of good ideas in there.' Seven-hundred-and-forty-two days later, it has not gotten one hearing in the state legislature. Not one."

In particular, Christie attacked the practice of dual office holding and called for the end of dual employment for all state, county and local officials and employees.

He specifically cited Democratic State Senator Nicholas Sacco, who also serves as the mayor of North Bergen and as its assistant superintendent of schools, and is paid for all three, according to Christie.

"$309,000 a year for Senator Nick Sacco," Christie said, quipping, "Senator Sacco, Mayor Sacco, Assistant Superintendent Sacco—his business card must be this big to fit all those titles on there." The governor extended his arms wide to laughter and applause.

Christie also stumped for ending the practice of paying out cash to public employees for their unused sick days.

"People shouldn’t be paid for not being sick," he said, noting that the accumulated sick leave and vacation payout liability of all municipalities statewide is $880 million. "I think that not being sick is the benefit of not being sick."

While he acknowledged that it would be unfair and illegal to strip the sick time from employees who have already accrued it, he said that going forward sick time should only be used to cover sick days.

He criticized Democrats' attempts to cap sick leave payouts, first at $15,000, and then at $7,500—proposals he vetoed.

“I propose zero means zero...you can accumulate as much sick leave as you want, and use it if you’re sick," he said, adding that extra sick time could even be donated to a chronically or terminally ill co-worker. "But no more cash for the sick days...It's not a second taxpayer-funded retirement plan."

The final tenet of Christie's Middle-Class Reform Agenda calls for closing loopholes in the 2 percent property tax cap that he said some municipal mayors have tried to circumvent by charging residents user fees for garbage collection and other services that were previously included in the budget.

Christie said the bill he supports allows for user fees as long as they fit under the 2 percent cap. While the bill has passed in the Senate, Christie said it's been stalled in the Assembly because mayors have complained that it makes municipal spending too difficult to control.

He said that whether municipalities like it or not, staying below the tax cap and consolidating services across the state is a must. His proposal, endorsed by Senate President Sweeney, would require towns to enter mutually beneficial shared service agreements with neighboring communities or risk losing state aid.

"You can decide if you want to have one of everything, if that makes you feel better. But guess what," Christie said. "The folks in [other municipalities] shouldn't have to pay for it." 

In closing, Christie called on constituents to hold the legislature's feet to the fire and pressure it to enact his Middle-Class Reform Agenda by the end of the year.

"There is nothing in here, in this agenda for the fall, that doesn’t make sense," he said. "There’s nothing radical in there, so we need to go fight for it."

During an extensive question and answer portion that lasted over an hour, Christie fielded questions on school funding, profligate board of education spending and the presidential election.

In response to a question about Mitt Romney's "failure to aggressively attack Obama's failed policies," Christie agreed that the Republican presidential nominee needed to make a stronger case to the American people, but said it was ultimately up to Romney to decide how to proceed.

"I’ve often said, you don’t win a championship on points, you have to knock the champion down to the canvas," Christie said. "That’s the way it works, I think, in politics, the same way it works most of the time in boxing."

Ottmar Pak September 21, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Bill, we will never agree. So you want to excuse Bush's shortcomings due to his congress, but hold Obama personally responsible for everything thereafter. I'm sure you know that there have been an unprecedented number of filibusters under Obama. That includes the American Jobs Act which some analysts believed would have created about 2 million jobs. The Congressional Budget Office also scored it as a net deficit reducer over ten years. Clearly we are in two different worlds about how we got here, who is responsible for much of it and who we trust to lead us forward. Your "success" reference must be in reference to "you didn't build it" or just a general impression that Obama is a socialist. That's a weak Faux Noise angle. http://cdn.factcheck.org/UploadedFiles/2012/06/Federal_Spending_Bush_Vs_Obama.png By the way Bill, are you a professional clown? There is a Bill Porterfield - at least on LinkedIn - who is a clown.
Jack B Goode September 22, 2012 at 12:55 AM
now will you opine on the President with the same critical language?
Jack B Goode September 22, 2012 at 01:04 AM
Similar questions can be asked of the President. Who will pay for the great expansion of government on his watch/ what has he done to improve the American economy? He said that if the economy isn't better in 3 years ,he will be a one term president. Why not focus on his lack of leadership in foreign affairs.Why not talk about ex governor Corzine who raised the sales tax,never funded the government employees pension fund and wanted to sell the Turnpike ansd Parkway to balance the budget?why not be honest and say that you don't like Republicans?
Jack B Goode September 22, 2012 at 01:13 AM
Yes we must vote for Obama,because he kept all his promises, turned the economy around, improved relationships with Muslims,surrounded himself with honest smart people, gave poor people hope and has a great plan for the future. Yes he truly represents "all " Americans and doesn't have any "rich" friends.All this while improving his golf game. How could someone not vote for him? (pass the Kool-Aid please)
Fan of Ridgewood September 22, 2012 at 04:24 PM
We may agree on where we want to go, but perhaps not on how we can get there. I dont know how you can refer to Obama's "You didnt build it." message as false noise. It's very revealing and in character with his other messages of redistribution and union pandering. He disdains, or has no faith, in individual initiative - which has been the main engine of almost all success throughout history. Bush was never the sharpest tool in the shed but his main failures came with 2 democratic houses. Obama, having both houses his first two years and the senate now has spent hugely and we are in the slowest "recovery" in history. The bigger point, at least to me, isnt which party is better but that government is best when it governs least. The public sector appears to be far more prone to corruption than the private sector. The public sector does not create wealth, but it can sure hamper the means to create it. I have never been more certain that four more years of Obama will be an American disaster. Not a clown but a children's magician - The Great Linguini. But I've mostly retired from that and doing other things.
Jack B Goode September 22, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Amen, its the hypocrisy that gets me ticked off!
Preston November 10, 2012 at 06:33 PM
@zizi: Are you familiar with the current tax rates and how much $250,000 is after paying taxes. How would you think that taxing people in that bracket will help the middle class? That is the middle class. As for Bush, why anyone is still talking about him is beyond words. The media and Dems have continually lied about why the housing market crashed and lead to this recession. If you really want to know, start back in 1995 with Clinton and then research Bush and the democratic congress in 2004 when Bush wanted to restrict the sub prime mortgages and was denied by Frank, Dodd, Schumer and a few other clowns. The Dems got the ball rolling and allowed this mess to happen. Bush requested 14 times to put a stop to the high mortgages and was denied. It's all there if you don't want to believe me, you can look it up for yourself. You can start by looking up a young lawyer by the name of Barack Obama out of Chicago. In 1995, he sued Citibank for racial discrimination and won. Clinton shortly signed a law into effect. That's a good place to start.
Still poor and unemployed November 10, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Who cares if you pay more taxes if I get free sheet! Obama is da man!
Ridgewood Mom November 11, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Preston, $250,000 per year is about five times the national average household income. Albeit, it is nowhere near Romney class, or the class which Governor Christie works for. But it is also nowhere near the middle. Moreover, graduated tax rates do nothing to challenge the principle that a person with an income of $250,000 gets to take home less then a person at $300,000 and more then a person with an income of $200,000 or $150,000 or $100,000 or whatever. People with higher incomes get to be richer. No one has ever challenged this. Now, it may have made sense to feel a bit sorry for some of the more gentle aristocrats who were victims at the guillotine during the French revolution, but if you are simply complaining that there are such things as graduated income taxes then I am sorry for you. It makes no sense to regard persons who get to be wealthier as victims of some sort of tragic economic injustice just because there is a graduated income tax, or feel sorry for them just because the degree to which they get to be richer then everyone else is less extreme.
Ridgewood Mom November 11, 2012 at 12:09 AM
Charter schools across the country are not making more educational gains with less money. On average, charter schools have more money then their mainstream competitors and are more selective in terms of which students they enroll. Yet even with these advantages they fare no better or worse, in terms of average performance on a national scale, then their mainstream counterparts.
Ridgewood Mom November 11, 2012 at 12:15 AM
Are you asking for an iPad or a sheet? How about competent assistance and opportunities in finding a job?
Ridgewood Mom November 11, 2012 at 12:31 AM
Of course the public sector creates wealth. What on earth are you talking about?
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Fan of Ridgewood November 15, 2012 at 01:43 PM
No, R.Mom, the public sector doesnt create wealth. It redistributes wealth from tax payers. It does not create wealth (profit). There are plenty of books on economics on Earth that explain that.
Fan of Ridgewood November 15, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Ridgewood Mom, you are absolutely incorrect. Charter schools receive no more funding than public schools, yet do not have the cost per teacher that union schools have. Charter schools have specialized in urban areas throughout the country where students have traditionally outperformed students of publics schools. if they dont perform well they are closed, unlike public schools. Charter schools dont pick their students, they are chosen by lottery. the amount of students that try to get into charter schools vs. the available seats speaks to their success.
Fan of Ridgewood November 15, 2012 at 02:11 PM
you say, "get to be wealthier" as if it's an entitlement they receive. I know from earlier posts you believe successful people have just succeeded in some scam but, by law, it's their money first, not the government's. While i understand the practicality of a graduated tax, it is not fair to charge some citizens more money for the same services they provide to other citizens.
Ridgewood Mom November 15, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Bill, You conflate wealth with money. When people produce goods or services they produce wealth. Such happens irrespective of whether someone is producing goods or services in the private sector or in the public sector. Conversely, the social representation of wealth that is known as money can be obtained by people irrespective of whether they create wealth or not. For example, a person can win at a game of roulette in Atlantic city, thereby obtaining money whilst producing no goods or services. As such, a person can obtain wealth without producing wealth in either the public or the private sector.
Ridgewood Mom November 15, 2012 at 09:55 PM
Bill: "I know from earlier posts you believe successful people have just succeeded in some scam" No I don't, nor have I ever implied as such in any posts anywhere. I have only ever argued, with regards to the topic, that being wealthier DOES NOT NECESSITATE that a person is more diligent, hard working, socially upstanding and contributing. You argue that being "successful" means doing better in the world. I argue that sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't. I do NOT argue that it always doesn't. So for me to prove that I am right, I need furnish only one single example of a case where one individual has obtained "success" without contributing much to anyone but himself. For you to prove that your position is the correct one, you must be able to successfully argue that every case everywhere in America in which someone is "successful" is a case in which they have done social good. Would you seriously care to test these two competing positions? Bill: "but, by law, it's their money first, not the government's. While i understand the practicality of a graduated tax," Nonsense. Taxation is legally obligatory.
Fan of Ridgewood November 15, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Ridgewood Mom - a Webster's definition of wealth - property that has economic utility: a monetary value or an exchange value. Public sector services are funded through involuntary tax contributions of its citizens. It is not, objectively, wealth. It may or may not have value but it is not a freely exchanged commodity. Actually, gambling is the creation of wealth. Risk is the work done and freely exchanged for wealth.
Fan of Ridgewood November 15, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Ridgewood Mom, you have a short memory. A while back i mentioned how i came from a modest background in the Bronx and am doing well. you replied, im paraphrasing, how you love to hear when people have "beaten the hustle". We are speaking in generalizations, most people in the American system have earned their success. To reply "nonsense" that money belongs to the earner first says everything about your world view, and a horrid one, in my view, which has destroyed the economies of much of Europe right now.
Ridgewood Mom November 15, 2012 at 10:39 PM
... and the students who don't have parents who are dedicated and/or resourceful enough to play this charter school lottery end up where? Average cost per pupil is slightly higher in NYC charter schools then in traditional public schools. http://gothamschools.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Screen-shot-2011-02-15-at-2.25.53-PM.png Funding formulas for charter schools vary wildy but, importantly, there is a strong correlation between funding and success. The same correlation that exists within and between traditional public schools. Charter schools are NOT more successful on average then traditional public schools. Not even by the standardized testing measures that have been created for the purpose of pushing them. In some cases they are. In more cases they aren't. http://www.data-first.org/questions/how-do-charter-schools-compare-to-regular-public-schools-in-student-performance/ Badly performing public schools ARE closed almost daily. Often even when they are doing a good job in consideration of their circumstances. Bill, given your views on education I am starting to think that you are a fan of Barack Obama and Cory Booker. No?
Ridgewood Mom November 15, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Sorry Bill. Vocabulary improvement won't help you here. It makes no sense to suggest that a government employee who goes to work at something is making nothing and only costing something? And, of course, it is no challenge to point out many many private sector actors who accumulate wealth without creating anything for society whatsoever. There is simply no intelligible correlation between private sector work and "wealth creation" that is in any way exclusive beyond the reach of the public sector. You can be productive and work in the public sector. You can be productive and work in the private sector. You can be a bum and work in the public sector. You can be a bum and work in the private sector. I know that you are reaching really hard to find that invisible hand Bill. But it just isn't there.
Ridgewood Mom November 15, 2012 at 11:02 PM
Speak for yourself about talking in generalizations Bill. I know that you have been generalizing, and see that you have built a remarkable sense of entitlement and system of prejudice based on your generalizations as well. I have not been generalizing. I have been making the point that we shouldn't generalize. I also did not say that money does not "belong" to the "earner" Bill. I say that a "haver" isn't necessarily a person who has "earned" anything. I think that the "haver" should be the "earner" and don't take anything for granted.
Fan of Ridgewood November 16, 2012 at 02:25 PM
yes, parents who care do put their kids into the charter school lottery. again an indication of their superiority. As far as the kids who have parents who dont care enough - it's too bad that the nation's welfare system that encourage mothers to have babies for financial gain. BTW, 50% of charter schools were graded "A" by the city vs. 25% of public schools. Additionally, charter schools educate a higher proportion of minorities as they specialize in disadvantaged areas. http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/ny_charters_ace_another_test_OsWJspt79TVRsCTfqvQBDN I dont know where you get ur info that dysfunctional public schools are closed every day. that's simply not true. Im a fan of Cory Booker. Certainly not Obama who closed down D.C. charter schools and never saw a union set-up he didnt like. FYI - i have no more time to respond to this two month blog. I have a job to do so the govt can confiscate more taxes from me.
Fan of Ridgewood November 16, 2012 at 02:31 PM
it may not make sense that something in the public sector can cost something but create nothing, but it happens with regularity. Government does not need to create a profit (wealth) to stay in business. Take a class in economics and learn the definition of wealth. also take one in etiquette, your sarcasm is disrespectful. I wont be responding any more. I have wealth to create.
Fan of Ridgewood November 16, 2012 at 02:34 PM
the only entitlement i assume is that ive earned the money my employer freely gives me (he can just as easily fire me) and im "entitled" to keep it.I dont think any one on this side of the free world, except for OBama, consider that a "remarkable sense of entitlement"
Ridgewood Mom November 16, 2012 at 11:13 PM
You make a fine point about government not needing to make a profit to stay in business. And private businesses only need to create profits for themselves to stay in business, without necessarily creating any wealth. What's your point? I do have some background in economics Bill. As usual, you hide behind personal attacks.
Ridgewood Mom November 16, 2012 at 11:16 PM
No Bill, you assume that everyone who pulls in some income has earned it and that anyone who has not managed as such has done nothing worthy of earning it. I have no doubt that you work hard for what you have Bill. I wouldn't know. Perhaps you even deserve more.
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