Love him or hate him, you’ve got to admit that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is not afraid to take a stand, speak his mind, or face the heat while doing it.
He served up his latest dish of no-nonsense honesty at a townhall in Rutherford, New Jersey, on Tuesday in defense of his plan to reform the Garden State’s bloated budget through an overhaul of civil service, reform of public pensions, and a constitutional cap on property tax growth.
And he’s taking flak for it. As you can see in the Video of the Week, a teacher confronted Christie and argued she’s underpaid for her work, given her education and experience. Christie’s reply? “Well, you know, then, that you don’t have to do it.”
A few weeks ago, a reporter questioned the governor’s penchant for tough talk and asked him about his “confrontational tone.” Christie said in response:
I believe in less government, lower taxes, and in empowering local officials who are elected by their citizens to be able to fix their problems. That may lead to a disagreement or two … [T]he fact of the matter is, this is who I am, and this is who the people elected.”
Colorful Q&A aside, Christie is drawing national attention for his decidedly different tack on coping with budget deficits – he’s cutting spending. (Well, OK, it’s “different” if your basis of comparison is the federal government.)
As he writes on RealClearPolitics.com, New Jersey’s fiscal crisis is marked by a $10.9 billion deficit and a $29.3 billion budget, which makes it the worst budget deficit percentage in America. So he’s proposing budget cuts, a cap on property taxes (because people can’t afford to pay them), a cap on spending, collective bargaining reform and other measures.
Christie explains that he knows how painful the cuts are but that he feels “an obligation to stand up and do what the people elected me to do, which is to get our government under control.” And like he says in this week’s video:
Unlike the United States of America, the State of New Jersey can’t print money.”
The U.S. Congress could use some of that commonsense conservatism.