With an official campaign kickoff event slated to be held in the halls of the Republican’s old stomping grounds — Livingston high school in Christie’s hometown of Livingston, New Jersey — this Tuesday, the executive director of the group New Jersey Citizen Action is calling on the governor to resign his post.
In a statement on the eve of that launch, Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, of NJCA, suggested Christie won’t be in a position to tackle the state’s biggest problems, which include a litany of economic and fiscal problems and a beleaguered pension and benefit system that has rifted lawmakers in Trenton, once he jumps into the 2016 race.
“The Governor of New Jersey cannot be making decisions that affect our state and our families based what conservative Republican Primary voters in South Carolina and Iowa want to hear,” Salowe-Kaye said. “New Jersey deserves a Governor who will put New Jersey’s families first. If Chris Christie is running for President, he should resign his post as Governor.”
Christie was in the statehouse today, where he took action on the state’s FY2016 budget by vetoing a series of tax hikes included in a proposed $35.3 billion spending plan passed by Democrats in the legislature. The proposed budget was one of the largest in state history, focusing largely on funding for higher education, healthcare and social services, and a beleaguered pension and benefit system — for which it put up a full $3.1 billion payment for the coming fiscal year.
Predictably, Christie nixed a millionaires tax and a corporate business tax, and slashed more than $1.6 billion in discretionary spending included in that plan.
He did not announce the fate of the pension payment, though observers note it is likely to come in close to the figured proposed in his own $33.8 budget, a partial $1.3 billion.
But it’s been Christie’s recent out-of-state travels — ostensibly undertaken to test the waters for a 2016 run — that have drawn the ire of liberal groups like NJCA and other critics in the state. The last several months saw the Republican hop-scotching across the country to stump in front of GOP voters, most recently in place like New Hampshire and South Carolina, two battleground primary states where Christie’s chances at the nomination are expected to be made or broken.
NJCA is not the first to call on Christie to bow out from his responsibilities in Trenton, but they were specific about the time-frame in which they feel he should do so.
“With the multiple crises that our state faces – a lagging economy, credit downgrades, billions in unfunded pension liabilities, a depleted transportation trust fund with no money to repair crumbling bridges – we cannot accept a Governor who will not put New Jersey’s first,” Salowe-Kaye added.
The group has launched a petition via social media calling on Christie to resign Tuesday, when he announces an official presidential campaign.