Following Wednesday’s announcement that Moody’s downgraded New Jersey’s credit rating from Aa3 to A1, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie blamed his two predecessors for the state’s economic predicament.
Even though Moody’s announcement was the sixth downgrade in Christie’s five year reign, Christie told CBS Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer at an economic summit, “I’m trying over the last five years to fix problems we’ve accumulated over the last 20.”
Christie bragged, “The comeback we’ve made has been exceptional but not complete.” He noted, “And the other thing I’ve been talking about in parallel tracks is the fact that our entitlement spending… in my fiscal year ’15 budget, that takes 94 cents out of every new dollar.”
Moody’s stated that their downgrade was because of the state’s “weakened financial position resulting from recurring revenue shortfalls and ongoing reliance on non-recurring resources that have deferred structural imbalances into future years,” as well as the “ongoing pressure of statutorily scheduled pension contribution increases and lagging economic performance.” New Jersey has been downgraded by two other credit rating agencies since April.
The Star-Ledger pointed out that New Jersey’s job growth under Christie has been 48th in the nation along with Mississippi and only surpassing New Mexico.
Christie argued that he has a plan to reduce the state’s deficit: “We’ve got to deal with that problem. I’ll come out next week with a plan on how to deal with it. But the long term problem here is we’re paying more for retiree health benefits than we’re paying for active retirees. It’s just not sustainable.”
Christie blamed his administration’s economists and said they had not forecast that taxpayers would take their capital gains and bonus payments into the 2012 tax year so they wouldn’t have to pay higher taxes, depriving the state of revenue. He said, “They said we just missed it. The great thing about an economist is that’s all they have to say.”
Michael Czin, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee, ripped Christie for blaming “anyone but himself,” saying, “For all his bluster and claims of straight talk, the bottom line is that Chris Christie will deflect, blame and attack others on nearly every issue — from Bridgegate to his budget crisis — while failing to take responsibility for his miserable record.”