Christie: If NJ doesn’t act, it could become Detroit

A caller prodded Gov. Chris Christie on the subject of cancer research funding, another on education funding, and in each case the governor pointed at the legislature.

He wouldn’t tell Ask the Governor host Eric Scott how he will handle Speaker Vinny Prieto’s (D-32) refusal to date to re-up the 2 percent cap on police and fire salary awards, preferring to keep his strategy cloaked.

“You wouldn’t want me to look like a schmuck, would you?” Christie asked Scott.

But the governor was pleased to blame Prieto.

A woman wanted to know why he can’t put more money into education.

“When I have to spend 94 cents on every dollar on pensions, health care and debt services, we can’t sustain it,” Christie said. “Any doubt of that, look at the City of Detroit. …The legislature may decide they simply won’t do anything about it. [But] The chickens are going to come home to roost.”

Christie has agreed to negotiate with Prieto on a law that limits property tax increases by limiting raises to some police and firefighters.

“I am glad to hear that Governor Christie is taking a break from his my-way-or-the-highway approach. It is good that he’s willing to negotiate with Speaker Prieto,” said Democratic State Party Chairman John Currie.

“Everyone wants lower property taxes, but there is no shame in allowing municipalities leeway and budgetary discretion after savings on health care costs and pensions are locked-in — which is something Christie’s conditional veto of the arbitration cap bill denied,” the chairman added. “Unfortunately, when he was not getting what he wanted, Governor Christie started taking cheap shots at Speaker Prieto at a public forum, proving that bullying tactics are the only strategy he knows for exacting concessions on policy matters.”

Christie: If NJ doesn’t act, it could become Detroit