As he considers whether to enter the race for president, Gov. Chris Christie delivered a State of the State address to New Jersey’s Legislature that focused on his accomplishments over five years.
Christie said bipartisan agreements with lawmakers have resulted in pension system and bail reforms, as well as slowing property tax increases.
Some of his speech was directed beyond New Jersey.
“We are a nation beset by anxiety, and it ‘s understandable,” said Christie. “Economic growth is low by post-war recovery standards. America’s leadership in the world is called into question because of a pattern of indecision and inconsistency.”
Turning his focus back to the Garden State, Christie vowed he would veto any proposal to increase income taxes as he called on the Legislature to cut taxes to keep and create jobs.
“It is you and, quite frankly, only you ,the state legislature, who can lower taxes further and make New Jersey more prosperous for our middle-class families and their children,” said the governor.
The only new initiative he mentioned was a promise to streamline access to drug treatment services so those in need of help will be able to make one call instead of contacting multiple agencies.
“If we’re able to make it easier for individuals battling addiction and their loved ones to access the right services at the right time, we will save lives,” Christie said.
Democratic legislative leaders were quick to pounce on the speech for highlighting past accomplishments rather than outlining a vision for the future.
“We need a plan to fix the Transportation Trust Fund, to fix the pensions, to work on health care,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney. “There’s a lot of things that we were expecting to hear, and I got to be honest with you, we all sat around and said he didn’t say anything.”
Amid speculation he may run for president, Christie told lawmakers he’ll be back before them for another State of the State address next year.
Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto says Christie’s potential national political aspirations should not sidetrack dealing with the state’s problems.
“He said he was going to be here a year from now for the next state of the state so obviously New Jersey has to be first,” said Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto, adding that Christie’s political aspirations should not sidetrack dealing with the state’s problems.
“That’s what we all got elected for,” Prieto said. “So we assume whether he travels outside the state, New Jersey has to be priority No. 1.”
Sweeney, widely speculated to be considering a run for governor, didn’t mince words.
“He’s running for president,” Sweeney said. “That’s what it sounds like to me, and that’s fine. But he’s still the governor of the state of New Jersey and our issues have to be addressed.”