Whelan says lack of info makes Christie’s speech difficult to analyze

TRENTON – The august entrance that wasn’t had people in the legislative chamber doing double takes that came up empty as Gov. Christopher Christie didn’t immediately appear when Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) announced him.

It wasn’t the only gaffe on this snow day, which Christie used to deliver a saber tooth budget speech to senators and assembly people, but didn’t provide the fineprint to the liking of state Sen. Jim Whelan (D-Atlantic City) and other Democrats now in the position of being able to criticize a sitting governor from the other party for the first time in a decade.

“You’re supposed to get the supporting documents in a timely fashion,” griped Whelan. “The details weren’t available so it’s tough to comment. I’m sure it’s just an oversight, and they will get the glitches out. If it becomes a pattern, then that’s a problem.” 

Whelan said he was concerned about Christie’s decision to cut $475 million in aid to education as a way of closing a $2.5 billion state budget gap.

“I think given the crisis everything has to be on the table,” Whelan said. “But I don’t have the details right now to respond responsibly.”

If Christie intends to scrap the so-called millionaire’s tax while cutting programs for the most vulnerable – that could be a problem, he added.

In justifying his proposed cut to education aid, Christie in his speech said, “Our solution does not take one penny from the instructional classroom. Not one teacher will be laid off.”

Whelan says lack of info makes Christie’s speech difficult to analyze