It was the night of November 3, 2009 I returned to my house from work around 10:30 PM. I came in shut the door, took out my keys, took out my wallet, put them on the table, and traveled over to the living room. The first thing I did was go over to the TV, and put on Fox News to see how the New Jersey gubernatorial election was going. This election was expected to be a highly contested race for the New Jersey Governor’s seat between Republican Chris Christie and incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine. At this point my Father entered the room, and asked about the results. I told him “Christie actually seems to be leading by 100,000 votes, in the back of my head I thought if any state could screw that up leave it to Jersey.” At the ripe age of 17 I felt that some justice had finally been served to my fine state to route out failed policies, and overspending. I actually felt more proud of my state for making the correct choice by nights end
Corzine conceded on election night, ensuring Christie an uncontested win. The next morning the voter return had been completed, and Christie had officially won the New Jersey governor’s election by approximately 90,000 votes (49% to 44%). New Jersey is usually considered a very liberal democratic state, but the governor seat has switched between both sides of the aisle. Recent economic turmoil and a clear distaste by voters for public service unions led the charge to route out incumbent Jon Corzine. After the shame of Governor Jim McGreevy, which essentially led to the ascension of Jon Corzine it was wonderful to feel that something had finally gone right for New Jersey voters. Finally, a conservative with a backbone who would stand up to these failed policies was elected.
On March 16th, Christie said: “We can’t increase municipal aid, increase aid to school districts, and increase property taxes without end. At some point the people’s ability to pay runs out. And now we’re here.” Sound familiar?
Christie blames over spending and the “pension explosion” as the main cause for New Jersey’s ballooning debt. The February 25th edition of Bloomberg Businessweek stated, “ (The) New Jersey pension system grew by more than a third to $46 billion last year”, and that “At the same time, the estimated value of benefits…(for) working and retired teachers and government workers grew from $135 billion, from $126 billion.”
Governor Chris Christie was elected to fix this broken and out of control system and has proposed a multitude of new plans, but for now we will focus on two. First, his plan to cut state spending directed mostly at public sector unions, known as the “Cut the Fat Method”. He has already implemented a budget reduction of $10.9 billion against proposed spending from the Corzine administration. Many public schools have acquired a pay freeze, and hiring of new teachers is almost at a standstill. Teacher’s unions have hijacked New Jersey’s budget refusing to take any cuts, and refusing to pay marginally into their benefits. The union’s strong political clout has sprung up in various protests and even fears of strike. Is this how our nations educators should act, there only being ask to make minimal concessions? Christie is trying to cut down on road construction crews, and obscene police overtime compensation also as a policy to cut down on spending.
Secondly, Christie proposed, “…that we start with a Cap 2.5, a state constitutional amendment to cap property tax increases at no more than 2.5 percent per year.” This was proposed to stop the “30-year tradition” of raising property taxes to keep up with the exploding debt. Christie realized this method was a band-aid for a bullet wound and decided to propose this 2.5% Cap. Normally the property rates would raise with the expanding debt causing individuals to make tough decisions being if they were going to keep a residence in New Jersey, what they were willing to buy, and what services they would have to choose to slash. All of these choices hampering economic development, in effect hurting New Jersey’s economy even more. Expanding debt and uncertainty in the market.
These two measures, and other various methods, compounded with Christie’s conservative charisma are exactly what New Jersey needed for a turnaround. On a grander note, a man such as Christie should not be seen as the exception to the governing class. This is a man who is truly governing as a one-term candidate. Men that have governed in this manor are that “True Change” we hear so much about. Christie is standing up to overspending, and refuses to back down to an overstuffed public union sector. This discontent for the status quo has spread from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from the borders of Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, and across all races and socioeconomic standings. The current electricity among the conservative movement will not go unnoticed this coming November election.