Christie tells business leaders to contribute to GOP or face Democratic governor in ’17

 People applaud New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie after he addressed a gathering of New Jersey business leaders Tuesday in East Windsor, New Jersey. As keynote speaker at the New Jersey Business & Industry Association event, Christie unleashed blistering criticism against New Jersey business leaders for not financially supporting Republicans in state elections and said the consequence is Democratic majorities and proposals for higher taxes. Christie said he attended the event to lay down a challenge to the business executives in attendance, saying they cannot continue to

People applaud New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie after he addressed a gathering of New Jersey business leaders Tuesday in East Windsor, New Jersey. As keynote speaker at the New Jersey Business & Industry Association event, Christie unleashed blistering criticism against New Jersey business leaders for not financially supporting Republicans in state elections and said the consequence is Democratic majorities and proposals for higher taxes. Christie said he attended the event to lay down a challenge to the business executives in attendance, saying they cannot continue to "play kissy face" with Democrats. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Gov. Chris Christie is criticizing New Jersey business leaders for not contributing more to Republican candidates and causes.

Speaking at a New Jersey Business and Industry public policy forum in East Windsor, Christie said Republicans lost four Assembly seats in November because businesses did not counter big campaign spending by unions. He believes Democratic majorities will push proposals to increase taxes.

“You get complacent again, history will repeat itself,” he warned. “You will get a Democratic governor with a Democratic Legislature, and the pigs will be charging down State Street.”

Christie challenged business leaders to open their checkbooks.

“You can be just as powerful if not more powerful force in this state than the 800,000 or so public sector workers that we have in this state, much more powerful,” he said. “There’s more of you. You make more money.”

New Jersey Chamber of Commerce president Tom Bracken said businesses did contribute to candidates during the last election campaign, but doubts they can match union spending.

“I’m not sure that we have the wherewithal to do that,” he said.

New Jersey Business and Industry Association president Michele Siekerka said pay-to-play rules make it difficult for business to match union campaign contributions.

“We do have the new jobs PAC, which is an independent business political action committee where businesses do donate and make contributions to candidates who are pro-business,” she said. “We need to elevate that. We have to consider the rules for super PACs and how businesses get in that game.”

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