NJ Gov. Christie gives Legislature failing grades

April 26, 2011 3:00:31 PM PDT
Gov. Chris Christie is giving the Legislature a report card full of incompletes and failing grades one day before New Jersey voters go the polls for school elections.

Speaking at a town hall meeting in Hamilton in Mercer County Tuesday, Christie chastised what he called the "do-nothing Legislature" for not moving on his proposals to overhaul the state's pension and health care systems.

The governor also criticized lawmakers for not giving his office more control over state boards and authorities.

"We could give them an "F" because they really haven't done anything, but then I'd be accused of being mean," Christie said.

Christie drew applause when he said the Legislature should have moved school board elections to November so more people could vote.

With a big sign counting down the days lawmakers have to act before vacation and reelection campaigns, Christie answered some questions from a friendly audience at the Grounds for Sculpture and told them that, if reforms aren't made, the state pension system will go bust in 2020.

He also predicted Democrats will raise taxes, which he opposes.

"If I let my foot up on these people on taxes they're coming after you next," he said.

Assembly Democratic spokesman Tom Hester Jr. says Christie should stop his "immature whining" and start protecting working class residents.

Gov. Christie said NJ's problems make him feel like he was invited out to dinner with all of the state's former governors, they had a great meal - and then he got stuck with the bill. Now, he says, he's trying to figure out how to pay for years of skipped pension payments and generous benefits that are bleeding the state's finances dry.

"I believe you hired me because this is a tough job and you want somebody tough to finish it," said Christie.

The governor says he may be accused of being too aggressive or a bully, but that no one ever wonders where he stands on an issue.