GOV. CHRISTIE TOUTS EFFORTS TO MAKE N.J. MORE BUSINESS FRIENDLY
By Ginger Gibson
June 15, 2011
PLAINSBORO — Gov. Chris Christie addressed a packed room full of business leaders from around the state tonight, highlighting the accomplishments of his administration.
Christie said his focus has been on making New Jersey more affordable by driving down taxes and getting the state’s finances in order.
The Republican governor proudly brandished his administration’s efforts to make the state more business-friendly, calling Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno “an advocate within the executive branch” for businesses.
He highlighted several legislative accomplishments: a 2 percent cap on property taxes, a 2 percent cap on arbitration for police and firefighter contracts, and the most recent deal — struck today — to overhaul health and pension benefits for state employees.
“While I was always to make reasonable compromises, I was never willing to swallow my principles,” he said.
However, the governor cautioned that while the economy is improving, the state isn’t out of the woods yet.
“This doesn’t mean our work is finished,” Christie said. “I’m not going to declare victory until victory is in hand.”
Christie repeated his frequent line about inheriting a state in trouble.
“I would love to be governor in a time like when Gov. (Tom) Kean was governor,” Christie said, “when his biggest problem was getting enough people in the Department of Treasury to count the money.”
But Christie argued that his policies would return the state to that condition.
“We will be able to have a happier and sunnier day in New Jersey,” Christie said.
Christie’s speech was a mixture of stories he tells at town hall meetings and pieces of speeches he delivered before other business groups.
He returned to a theme he first introduced at a speech in Washington, D.C, before the American Enterprise Institute, calling President Barack Obama’s plan to expand high-speed Internet and rails “the candy of American politics.”
Christie said other states are watching government overhaul efforts in New Jersey and using them as a model for change, saying they aspire to be like the Garden State.
“They thirst for it at a national level,” he said.
Christie also offered a handful of light-hearted anecdotes, recalling a moment in last night’s broadcast of a taped interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan.
During the interview, First Lady Mary Pat Christie was asked what the biggest misconception about the governor is. She responded that he is actually a “nice” guy.
Christie said within a minute he received a text message from an “unnamed” lawmaker reading, “Nice? Yeah right.”
The audience laughed and someone shouted a name.
“No, it wasn’t Joe Kyrillos,” Christie answered, referring to the state senator who is a close friend of his.