Ahead of Final Budget Address, Groups Say Christie ‘Failed’ as NJ Governor

Jeff Tittel of the NJ Sierra Club speaks at a rally ahead of Christie's final budget address.

Jeff Tittel of the NJ Sierra Club speaks at a rally ahead of Christie’s final budget address. Alyana Alfaro for Observer

TRENTON – New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s vision of the state is a “fairytale” according to advocates who gathered on the front steps of the Trenton State House ahead of Christie’s eighth and final budget address. According to members o the Better Choices for New Jersey coalition, Christie’s “malfeasance” has left “the state’s working families and the state in general in a state of destruction.”

The rally featured speakers from NJ Working Families Alliance, the New Jersey Education Association, the Housing and Community Development Network of NJ, New Jersey Policy Perspective, Healthy School Now, the New Jersey Sierra Club, Environment New Jersey, Clean Water Action and NJ Citizen Action.

According to Analilia Mejia, executive director of NJ Working Families, the picture Christie will likely represent in his 2 p.m. address will be a state on the road to recovery. According to Mejia, Christie has “failed New Jersey.”

“New Jersey has the second lowest credit rating in the nation, following ten credit downgrades. This bleak fiscal situation is directly attributable to Christie policies that prioritized giving billions of tax dollar breaks to corporations rather than supporting working families,” Mejia said.

Other advocates aired grievances with Christie including environmental policy concerns, criticism that Christie’s policies are “anti-transit,” calls for the governor to support the Affordable Care Act and for close ties between the governor and President Donald Trump’s administration.

One of the biggest expected issues on Christie’s budget address agenda is the much-discussed school funding formula in the state. Christie’s plan—which would equalize amount per student regardless of need—has gotten sharp opposition from teachers and Democrats. There is speculation that during his final budget address Christie might make a final push for the controversial plan. NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer spoke against the plan during Tuesday’s rally.

“NJEA has a message for Governor Christie, the legislature, President Trump, [U.S. Education Secretary] Ms. Betsy DeVos, and Congress: public schools have been under attack in recent years and we’ve had enough. NJEA will oppose and fight against any effort to defund New Jersey public schools.”

Christie’s budget address will be held at 2 p.m. Here is what the governor is expected to speak about.

Ahead of Final Budget Address, Groups Say Christie ‘Failed’ as NJ Governor