On Back to Work NJ, Christie: My line is open

CAMDEN – Gov. Chris Christie was not exactly supportive when asked today about the revival of Back to Work NJ, a $3 million program the governor vetoed earlier this year.

Sponsored by Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, (D-34), of East Orange, the job training program is based on a successful “Georgia Work$” job training program, but is not married to any particular revenue source. That was Christie’s reason for vetoing it, and today he reinforced the power of his veto pen.

“It is 41 and 21 – and one,” he said of the legislative barriers. “And you’re looking at the one…She wants to get this done, she has my number. She can call me.”

The Assembly Labor Committee passed Oliver’s bill today along party lines.

He noted the PolitiFact rating of “False” for Democratic Party Chairman John Wisniewski (D-19), of Sayreville, who claimed no jobs were being created in the state under the Republican governor. (Link: http://www.politifact.com/new-jersey/statements/2011/nov/28/john-wisniewski/john-wisniewski-claims-new-jersey-not-seeing-new-j/)

“Politically, they’d like to be known as job-creators,” he said of the Democrats. But, the fact-checking service found a 22,500-job year-to-year increase under Christie, a 0.6 percent spike that shifted the balance of public sector and private sector employment.

Christie also railed today against the Democrats for leaning hard for Office of Legislative Service revenue predictions for the budget a few months ago – numbers that now seem unattainable after a severely lagging first quarter.

“I heard the Treasurer come out last week and say we’re $210 million behind my projection,” Christie said. “The Legislature likes to spend money.”

That’s not going to preclude Christie from hearing Oliver out, he said, because he’s not hard-lined against spending at the moment.

He used the restoration of $139 million in Transitional Aid, a supplemental appropriation offered by the governor himself, as proof. But the Dems won’t even pass that, he said.

“I don’t know what they’re waiting for,” he said. “The very representatives of these (in-need) municipalities (have been) sitting on their hands since July.”

Last week, the Senate Democrats submitted a proposal to restore the $139 million, with an additional $1.5 million for oversight that Christie is fighting for. Asked today whether he would consider it, he said, “We’ll talk about that.”

“Why don’t they have some hearings on how they are going to cut things?” he said, mentioning the legislative majorities ignore the “tough” decisions. “They leave that to me most of the time,” Christie said.

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Back to work bill clears Assembly committee On Back to Work NJ, Christie: My line is open