Governor Chris Christie appeared last night for another segment of “Ask the Governor” on the Millenium Radio Group broadcast on NJ 101.5FM. Governor Christie spoke for an hour answering the questions of the NJ 101.5 FM’s host, Eric Scott, as well as those of callers and questions sent by email from listeners.
The first topic discussed by host Eric Scott and Governor Christie was that of the decision handed down by the Superior Court Judge regarding the Education Law Center law suit. Judge Doyne determined that the Governor’s funding of schools was unconstitutional as it failed the New Jersey constitutional requirement of providing a “thorough and efficient education” for all school children.
The Governor’s immediate response was to say “that is how crazy our courts have become”. Governor Christie stated that our education system is “broken” yet “we spend more than anyone else” on education. However, the Governor did not recognize that New Jersey leads all other states when it comes to test scores. He later tempered his tone and noted that he was hopeful that the New Jersey Supreme Court would take into consideration New Jersey’s “fiscal crisis”. He also stated that it was unlikely that the United States Supreme Court would hear the case as it is a question of state constitutional law not federal law.
Governor Christie did not talk in depth despite a caller as well as Eric Scott asking about the progress of pension and benefit reform. The caller noted that the pension fund is unsustainable and wondered if the Governor would consider changing it from the defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan or 401K/403B plan. The Governor indicated that it may eventually happen but that currently he was more interested in trying to sustain the pension plan for those already in the plan and those getting ready to retire. In response to Eric Scott’s question, Governor Christie noted that he believes he is getting closer to an agreement with the New Jersey Legislature on pension and benefit reform.
Governor Christie more or less dodged a few questions by giving unresponsive answers. For instance, a caller asked what the Governor was doing with regard to illegal immigrants obtaining welfare benefits when police and firefighters are getting laid off. The Governor answered that illegal immigrants utilize our schools and health care systems. And he noted that children of illegal immigrants who are born in the United States are entitled to an education. His response to the question was simply stating that illegal immigration is a federal issue not a state issue, contary to his conservative colleagues in other states. However, Governor Christie did not address the caller’s question regarding welfare. The Governor failed to tell the caller that illegal immigrants cannot get welfare benefits as they are prohibited from doing so under federal law.
When a state worker called to question the Governor’s plan to raise workers’ contribution to their health care plan to 30%, he stated that New Jersey is “broke”. The caller told the Governor that her family will have to choose between health care and food as a result of the increase. The Governor stated that he would not raise taxes on the wealthy to help with the costs. However, the Governor failed to address his tax cuts for the wealthy and businesses. He noted earlier in the show that “I won’t do it” when questioned on raising taxes on millionaires.
To listen and view the “Ask the Governor” show go to http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/13500837#utm_campaigne=synclickback&source=http://millenniumradionj.com/AskTheGovernor/ask-gov-WKXWFM.html&medium=13500837.