ELIZABETH – Gov. Chris Christie said Fitch’s Downgrade was not unexpected, and claimed credit for making it better than it might have been.
“Imagine if we hadn’t passed pension and benefit reform,” said the governor. “It just shows we have more work to do. It is far from fixed.”
Christie said the report – which dropped the state’s rating from “AA” to “AA” – also contained praise for the administration.
“It took us a long time to get into it, it’s going to take us a lot of time to get out of it,” he said of the economic downturn. “The toughest part of this recovery is usually revivials are led by recovery of the housing market.”
That’s not happening now, said the governor.
“It’s definitely a concern… We’re going to have to work our way through a situation that bad government policy created.”
Christie said the cause of the trouble was too much government engineering from Washington.
“We forced lenders to lend to people who had no business borrowing,” the governor said.
But New Jersey Democratic State Committee Chairman John Wisniewski blamed the governor for Fitch’s marks, offering the following comment on the downgrade of the state bond rating:
“A failure by the Governor,” said Wisniewski, who said Christie sent surrogates to fight for New Jersey’s financial future after lecturing others about there being no substitute for leadership.
“The most important job of any governor is ensuring the financial stability of the state,” said Wisniewski. “While the Governor can travel around the country campaigning for his Republican pals, spend days holed up leading a failed Republican redistricting effort and can even helicopter across the state for meetings with Iowa admirers, I’m shocked he couldn’t make the trip to Manhattan to argue for our financial well-being. That the governor would delegate this to staff is not only unbelievable, but could cost this state more money than any decision he has made to date. In his endless search for scapegoats instead of solutions to our problems, Christie is fast becoming the most fiscally irresponsible governor in recent memory.”
On Fitch downgrade: