Sunday, September 23, 2012

Remember the Chris Christie Economic/Fiscal Success in New Jersey – Don’t Remember It Because It’s Didn’t Happen

Gov. Christie:  All Hat and No Cattle as They Say in Texas – Where Economic Strength is Real

Since he was elected Governor of New Jersey in 2009 Chris Christie has been pursuing traditional Republican economic policy, and at least according to Mr. Christie it has been a great success.  This so-called great success led to Mr. Christie’s keynote address to the Republican national convention, and talk of possible national office. 

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey rose to stardom in the national Republican Party by promoting himself as a fiscal conservative willing to make the “hard choices” to restore sound budgeting to his state.

But like much of Republican policy, the reality is that the hype and the spin and the propaganda is at odds with the real world.  Mr. Christie has disdainfully dismissed his critics

But for much of the last year, Democrats and independent budget analysts have argued that his current budget was built on wishful thinking, and assumed that the state’s lagging economy would grow faster than that of almost anywhere else in the nation. In his typical blunt style, Mr. Christie dismissed those doubters as “rooting for failure.”

But now his critics include an independent bond rating agency, a critic that cannot be dismissed.

On Tuesday, his frequent assertions of a “New Jersey Comeback” came under fresh scrutiny, this time from Standard & Poor’s, which downgraded the state’s financial outlook to negative from stable.

The ratings agency said it lowered its outlook because it believed the governor’s revenue projections for the current fiscal year were overly optimistic, warning that the budget was structurally unsound. In particular, the agency took note of the administration’s reliance on one-time transfers of money to fill gaps in the state’s $32 billion budget. At the same time, it noted that the state will have to spend more in the coming years to meet pension and Medicaid obligations.

And no, S & P is not alone in its conclusions.

The assessment comes a week after the state’s nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services reported that revenue for the fiscal year that ended in June fell $254 million short of what the governor had anticipated, with a particularly large decline — 9 percent — in corporate tax revenue. The state’s unemployment rate has risen to 9.8 percent, higher than all but those of California, Nevada and Rhode Island.
Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings, the two other big ratings agencies, have also recently warned that revenues would lag behind the governor’s expectations, which would require significant revisions to this year’s spending plan because state law requires a balanced budget. Moody’s warned that the revenue shortfalls “leave the state exposed to a midyear structural imbalance.”

Of course, rather than addressing the issue head on Mr. Christie used his typical bullying to attack those who disagree with his unreal positions.

In March and again in May, the director of the Office of Legislative Services, David J. Rosen, warned that revenues were lagging. Mr. Christie dismissed him as “the Dr. Kevorkian of the numbers” and accused him of working on behalf of Democrats.

But now the New Jersey government is unable to rebut its critics with facts and analysis, the usual way that a serious person takes a position.

The governor’s office directed questions to the state treasury. Andrew Pratt, a treasury spokesman, issued a statement playing down the revised outlook and emphasizing instead that Standard & Poor’s, along with Moody’s and Fitch, had for now affirmed the state’s credit ratings.

“We believe investors will find S.&P.’s arguments to be out of step, and its basis for revising New Jersey’s outlook unconvincing, particularly in the face of the continued growth in New Jersey’s economy and state revenues,” Mr. Pratt said.

He declined to detail how the administration found fault with the Standard & Poor’s assessment.

That’s right, everything is ok, don’t believe those independent agencies who analyze this stuff for a living, trust the politicians.

As for Mr. Christie, well he is changing the tune, no longer singer the same old song.

Mr. Christie, who continued to press for the tax cut Tuesday at a town-hall-style meeting in Elmwood Park, appears to have jettisoned the phrase “New Jersey Comeback.” He declined to use it last month during his keynote address to the Republican National Convention. And for town hall meetings, he has adopted a new slogan: “Christie Middle Class Reform Agenda.”

Well, some of the old song remains, the part about how tax cuts will help balance the budget.  For Republicans some of the old time religion just can never ever be replaced by reality.  And after all, he really only has to fool 51% of the people, how hard can that be?

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