Christie town hall comments spark bond controversy

Democrats eagerly jumped on a Bloomberg story today that correlates Gov. Chris Christie’s town hall comments on healthcare costs with a drop in the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s tax exempt bond offering.

Bloomberg reported that about 20 minutes after Christie said that health-care costs “will bankrupt” the state, the authority cut its bond offering by more than half to $712.3 million.

Christie Press Secretary Michael Drewniak said the Dems’ linkage of Christie’s remarks to a decision to reduce the debt sale is a “completely bogus interpretation and an irresponsible connecting of unconnected events,” but Budget Committee Democrats Assemblyman Louis Greenwald (D-Voorhees) and Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-Passaic) disagreed.

“The timing of the governor’s remarks were particularly ill-advised,” said Schaer. “It seems, unfortunately, that the governor is not as aware of the financial markets and how they work as one would have assumed. His comments effectively served to spook the capital market and sent the wrong message. The capital markets are extremely volatile, and given the overall national issues that so many states and municipalities are dealing with and negative comments have dramatic consequences. Given the skittishness of the market overall, especially regarding tax-exempt debt, there is real concern, and one comment can significantly affect the market.”

The incident, Dems argue, is simply one more example – along with his blaming the Obama administration for New Jersey’s Race to the Top debacle – that this shoot-from-the-hip governor should be more careful when he speaks.

Christie town hall comments spark bond controversy