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Governor Chris Christie on ABC's This Week

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Uploaded on Jul 26, 2010

Governor Christie sat down for a one-on-on interview with Jake Tapper on Sunday, July 25, 2010. (transcript below)

JAKE TAPPER: And joining me now is someone who also knows from budget challenges, New Jersey's Republican governor, Chris Christie. Governor, thank you so much. Welcome to "This Week."
GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE: I'm happy to be here.
TAPPER: So, Governor, your victory last November in the very blue state of New Jersey was heralded by Republicans nationally, seen as a blueprint for their victories. Now, a lot of Republicans who wanted you to win and admired your campaign said that you won mainly by criticizing incumbent Democratic Governor Corzine, not necessarily by a specific, detailed agenda.
And I'm wondering if, first of all, you agree with that. And, second of all, how do you see your victory in the context of what Republicans can do this November?
CHRISTIE: Well, first off, Jake, I think what we did in New Jersey last year was say very specifically what direction we wanted to take the state in. We said we wanted to have less spending, smaller government, lower taxes, and commonsense regulation that was going to help to grow private-sector jobs.
And so I didn't go line item by line item through the budget during a campaign, and I didn't think it was the right thing to do.
Now, in terms of what it tells us going forward, I think Republicans across the country need to get back to our brand, and I think that is the Republican brand. It's why I became a Republican: less government, lower taxes, less spending, and commonsense regulation that grows private-sector jobs.
And so I think if my win tells anything, it means if we get back to basics as Republicans, then we speak to some of the concerns people have in New Jersey and across the country.
TAPPER: You know, the biggest item on your agenda so far has been dealing with the budget and the huge deficit in New Jersey. Here you are on CNBC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIE: We passed a budget that cuts $11 billion from our state's budget, balances it without any new tax increases on the people of the state of New Jersey.
(END VIDEO CLIP) TAPPER: Now, Patrick Murray, director of polling at Monmouth University, says, quote, "That's a nice talking point, but it's absolutely untrue. There are a lot of legal obligations that the state has that the governor just simply ignored." And the Star-Ledger reported, "Budget analysts say the $11 billion deficit was closed largely by avoiding massive costs. The budget skipped a $3.1 billion payment to the pension fund, continuing a decade-long pattern Christie had criticized, and did not pay $1.7 billion to schools under the state's formula for education aid."
So these billions that you're not funding, are you doing this just by executive fiat? How does this work? Because they're legal obligations, right?
CHRISTIE: No, listen, the legislature passed this budget. The budget I presented on March 16th has $11 billion in less spending than was projected to be done through the Corzine administration.
And so Patrick Murray is a pollster, and he's OK as a pollster, but he's not going to be all that great as a governor, because what we did here was we took $1.7 billion less in education funding. Well, a billion of that was federal stimulus money that had been spent in one year by the Corzine administration, and we were left with $1 billion hole. Really what we did was we reduced it by about $820 million in educational spending.
Across the board, Jake, we had to reduce spending. Every department of state government was cut. And so there are going to be some cuts you make you like and some that you like less, but when you have an $11 billion hole to fill, you have to fill it.
Finally, on pensions, I wasn't going to put $3 billion into a failing pension system. We need pension reform. I passed some already for new hires in March, and now this fall we're going to go after current employees and pension reform and health benefit reform because we're going broke.
TAPPER: Now, one -- in that clip, you said that there were no new tax increases on people of the state of New Jersey, but also your budget did not fund $1 billion in direct property tax rebates, the homestead rebate. That means that people's property taxes are going to go up.
CHRISTIE: Well, no, what we did, Jake, was we did a couple of things. First, we changed it from a property tax rebate program to a direct credit. We spent about $20 million a year in processing these checks and borrowing the money to send out to people. We've eliminated that.
And what we did was we skipped three-quarters of that payment in the current fiscal year as part of the shared sacrifice that everybody was going to have to make. I wasn't going to cut just programs for the vulnerable; I wasn't going to cut just programs for the rich, but programs for the middle class. Everything had to be cut.
But that program will be back as a direct tax credit in the fourth quarter of fiscal '11...

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