BY JOSHUA HENNE
(NEW JERSEY) – No matter how rosy a picture Governor Chris Christie paints tonight in his address to the Chamber of Commerce at their annual “Walk to Washington,” Christie still has to answer why New Jersey continues to lag the rest of the nation by nearly every metric when it comes to jobs and unemployment.
Since January 2010 – the month Christie took office - New Jersey ranks an anemic 45th in terms of private and public sector job growth.
Time and time again, Governor Christie uses big talk to overcompensate for limp action. In his State of the State last week, Christie repeated the catchphrase “Jersey Comeback”. Rather than sprinkling the sound bite throughout his remarks and on the national television circuit, Governor Christie instead should come back to New Jersey and do his job. Because far too many residents are without a job - as the state is down nearly 200,000 jobs from its pre-recession peak. Moreover, there are more and more vacant storefronts and office buildings, as commercial property foreclosures in New Jersey spiked 10 percent over the last year alone. And for 12 consecutive months, New Jersey has trailed the rest of America when it comes to unemployment.
Governor Christie is more focused on creating additional wealth for his friends and backers in the 1 percent than he is creating jobs for New Jersey residents. While Christie sucks up to Wall Street and corporate interests with subsidies, he continues to fail New Jersey’s local businesses and those on Main Street.
Starting this month, state employers have to pay an additional $21 per employee because New Jersey failed to repay an unemployment loan to the federal government. This will cost employers over $80 million in new taxes. Coupled with a new state tax to help fill the Unemployment Trust Fund, New Jersey employers will now have to pay an additional amount of nearly $180 per employee.
Christie can take his hollow “Jersey Comeback” phrase on a national tour as he talks to fawning right-wing crowds and inside-the-beltway pundits. But the truth remains that the comeback hasn’t begun for those New Jersey families and small businesses struggling to make ends meet. And it won’t begin as long as Christie continues pushing policies which harm New Jersey’s middle-class.
FUN FACT: Two years ago, Governor Christie lambasted the Chamber of Commerce’s annual trip and refused to attend. Last year, Christie was more than happy to speak from the dais. And this year, Christie made sure no other elected officials were allowed to even address the audience.
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