“In whatever arena of life one may meet the challenge of courage, whatever may be the sacrifices he faces if he follows his conscience – the loss of his friends, his fortune, his contentment, even the esteem of his fellow men – each man must decide for himself the course he will follow.”~~~John F. Kennedy
Gov. Chris Christie speaks to Star-Ledger's editorial board about "day of reckoning" budget cuts
By Kelly Heyboer/ The Star-Ledger
March 17, 2010, 10:33PM
John O'Boyle/The Star-Ledger
Gov. Chris Christie answers questions on his proposed budget during a meeting with the Star-Ledger editorial board today. Christie has hit the road to campaign for support of his budget.
A fired-up Gov. Chris Christie visited The Star-Ledger editorial board today to make his case for a proposed state budget that he believes will be the first step in solving New Jersey's financial problems.
The governor made no apologies for his plan to slash school aid, property tax rebate checks, municipal aid and dozens of state programs and departments. He said he is prepared to fight to get the budget through the state Legislature, even if it costs him re-election.
"I've got to fix it. Or I'm going down trying," Christie told the editorial board at The Star-Ledger's Newark office. "I think the public has just had enough."
Christie did not back off his plan to cut taxes to the rich. He said he will not call for renewing an income tax surcharge on families who earn $400,000 or more. The surcharge, which expired last year, would have raised $1 billion for the state coffers if renewed.
The governor said if Democrats legislators wanted the surcharge, they should have passed a bill before it expired last year.
But Christie saved his biggest criticism for the state teachers unions, including the New Jersey Education Association. Teachers may have to give up pay raises and contribute more to their health care plans if school districts can't make ends meet after the proposed state aid cuts.
"The teachers union has a choice here: Do they want to lose members? Or do they want to reopen contracts?" Christie said.
Christie said he suspects the leaders of the NJEA are "crass union bosses" who have little interest in compromising with Trenton lawmakers.
"Those people have been the bullies of State Street . . . and they're not going to bully me," Christie said.