New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is defying the odds in reforming the Garden State. Democrats in the State Legislature are compromise with the governor in capping real estate tax increases to 2% a year.
He has held his ground against the teachers unions in the state. Slash state budget spending. Convinced the voters to veto school budgets and that’s just the beginning. From the New York Times:
Outside a farmhouse here in central New Jersey last week, buttoned up in a dark suit despite the triple-digit heat, Mr. Christie promised to tackle rising pension costs, transportation financing, municipal spending — all while poking fun at his opponents, the news media and, mostly, himself.
When a reporter suggested that the governor do a rain dance, he said, “Don’t want to miss that, baby.” And in the rare instance of his withholding judgment on an issue, he said he preferred to know something about the issue before opining, although, he added, tongue in cheek, that actual knowledge was not necessarily a requirement.
It was a model taste of Mr. Christie, six months into his term as governor: blunt, energetic, clearly enjoying himself.
And having his way.
Mr. Christie has turned out to be a far more deft politician than his detractors — and even some supporters — had expected, making few compromises as he pursues a broad agenda for remaking New Jersey’s free-spending political culture. So far, polls suggest, the public is giving him the benefit of the doubt.
“The most important thing in public life, in a job like governor, is for the people you’re representing to know exactly where you stand,” Mr. Christie said in an interview on Friday. “People who disagree with me on things at least have a sense of comfort in knowing where I’m coming from.”
In a mostly blue state where Democrats control the Legislature, Mr. Christie, a Republican, won election last year mostly because of the deep unpopularity of his opponent, Gov. Jon S. Corzine. Mr. Christie, a former federal prosecutor known for aggression rather than deal-making, took office to predictions that his hard-charging style would not work in the labyrinth of Trenton, where factions of party, region and interest group would slow him down.
Instead, he confronted the powerful public employees’ unions and won, cutting future pensions and benefits, and persuaded voters to defeat hundreds of local school budgets. He got nearly everything he wanted in the state budget, making the deepest cuts in generations. And the Assembly is expected this week to give final passage to one of his cherished goals: a cap on local property taxes.
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