Phil Murphy assumed the Governorship of New Jersey this morning, ending eight years of neglect and abuse of power under Chris Christie.
Christie’s cancellation of the ARC tunnel, fraudulently citing inadequate funding as the reason, remains unforgivable. The agreement reached was that New York would match New Jersey’s contribution to the project. However, the political climate under then Governor Paterson was considered unstable, causing Christie to jump the gun and dump the plan in its entirety. It is extremely unlikely that Paterson or his successor would have reneged on this important matter of infrastructure, and under President Obama, the federal government would have made up the difference.
The cancellation of the ARC tunnel, a project that was in development for nearly 20 years, had many negative consequences for New Jersey. The skilled jobs created by the project would have been a great boost to our moribund economy which lags significantly behind New York and Pennsylvania in economic recovery. The existing tunnels are more than 100 years old and pose a massive risk should they collapse. The destruction would worsen the already abysmal traffic situation in the state.
New Jersey’s overall transit system has also taken many hits during Christie’s stint as Governor. NJ Transit’s budget was cut numerous times and service has suffered greatly as a result. The poor service further exacerbates traffic. Countless hours are already lost to idling in traffic. The exhaust pollutes and further worsens our air quality. Many overpasses need repairs.
In September of 2013, Christie authorized the closure of two out of three of the local lanes of the George Washington Bridge for the sole purpose of bullying a Democrat who would not endorse him. The fact that Christie was not convicted on this count was likely only due to his loyal aides who destroyed the evidence and took the fall.
His biggest claim of success was reducing the rate at which property taxes rise. He wasn’t even able to claim a cut, but rather a reduction in their rise.
Christie’s failure to adequately fund the pension system has led to New Jersey’s credit rating being cut 11 times! Granted, previous Republican and Democratic Governors also failed to make adequate payments to the pension system, but it became a crisis under Christie.
Since he is a Republican, one might forgive him for merely adhering to the party line on a number of policy questions. Giving millions of dollars away in tax breaks to companies to spur development is quite common, though it is certainly not fiscally conservative. However, was reliably conservative when he vetoed the bill to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Christie’s lack of interest in New Jersey during his failed bid for the 2016 Presidency might have actually benefited the state since neglect is preferable to actively dismantling the state. He was absent for nearly two years from the state while running. Christie was so interested in winning the presidency that he vetoed a bill addressing how pigs are treated on the notion that Iowa pig farmers might be offended and not vote for him.
His run for the Presidency was likely doomed from the start when longtime friend and New Jersey State Senator Joe Kyrillos decided to pin Jeb Bush as the candidate more likely to win. However, one could argue that Trump’s brash style is part of a trend that Christie started, which made really funny when he became a loyal stooge and lost his bravado once he endorsed Trump.
The only reason he wasn’t able to secure a position in Washington was due to the tarnish left by Bridgegate.
If I were a Republican, I would be enraged at the sad state of the New Jersey Republican Party. While they had initially made inroads into Bergen County by winning the County Executive seat, they have since lost those gains with Democrats now controlling the aforementioned seat, as well as enjoying their largest majority in the legislature since Watergate. His successor lost by double digits and no current challenger to Bob Menendez looks formidable. A Democrat won the very large and wealthy 5th Congressional district in 2016 and it looks like he’ll be staying awhile.
Chris Christie was nothing more than a bully attempting to run New Jersey like he was Tony Soprano and not the elected servant of the people. He was a horrible role model for all who wish to make a difference where they live. Good riddance!