O’Scanlon rides to Christie’s defense on S&P outlook downgrade

Assembly budget office Declan O’Scanlon today issued a scathing release taking both Democrats – and the Statehouse press corps who quoted them – to task over comments made in the wake of an outlook downgrade by a Wall Street ratings agency.

Democrats rushed to attack Gov. Chris Christie after Standard and Poor’s dropped the state’s credit outlook from stable to negative. 

But O’Scanlon noted that not only did S&P affirm the state’s AA- credit rating, but so did Moody’s Investor Service and Fitch Ratings, the other major ratings agencies.

“The conduct and glee from our leading legislative Democrats is remarkable and disturbing. For days, they sat silent when two ratings agencies affirmed New Jersey’s credit rating in response to the Schools Development Corporation bond offering and today are dancing in the streets when a third rating agency – after also maintaining the state’s credit rating – gave an outlier’s opinion and lowered its outlook,” explained O’Scanlon.

“To see this kind of political opportunism and rooting for failure from individuals entrusted with some of the highest leadership positions our government offers is disgraceful. Their Swiss cheese, fragmented perception of reality – with the holes miraculously lining up with anything positive about our state’s fiscal condition – is disturbing, but not surprising.”

Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Vincent Prieto, (D-32), Secaucus, and Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald, (D-6), Voorhees, both issued damning statements after the outlook revision was announced.

But O’Scanlon’s invective was not limited to lawmakers.  The Republican assemblyman also took issue with the press for quoting the Democratic lawmakers.

“That our Statehouse press corps simply gobbles the partisan nonsense up so willingly is also a real disappointment,” O’Scanlon said. “That is especially so when you see them blindly quoting even those lawmakers who so vigorously fought bipartisan pension and benefits reforms in an effort that would have crippled New Jersey’s long-term efforts to fix our long-term economic health.”

In revising its outlook to negative, Standard and Poor’s cited what it called optimistic revenue numbers contained in Christie’s budget.  And S&P was not alone in its reservations about the state’s revenues.  In its report, Moody’s also cited the numbers as optimistic, though it stopped short of revising its outlook. 

O’Scanlon rides to Christie’s defense on S&P outlook downgrade