Chris Christie’s Budget Strategy – An NJ Spending Plan Doesn’t Make Waves
For the past three weeks, after delivering a status-quo, non-controversial budget proposal that calls for flat spending across-the-board, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has spent most of his time out-of-state.
According to Rider University political science professor Ben Dworkin, the director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics, Christie's top priority right now is getting ready to make a presidential run.
"The reason his budget is fairly straight forward, maintaining funding levels similar to last year with no controversies, is so that the governor doesn't have to be in Trenton negotiating new ideas and new initiatives all the time," Dworkin said. "He needs to be in Iowa, he needs to be in New Hampshire."
Dworkin said New Jersey Democrats will undoubtedly criticize Christie "for spending too much time away and prioritizing his national ambitions over the needs of the Garden State, regardless of whether he's in Trenton or Iowa on any particular day, that's just part of the politics that you'll see as we move forward."
But will all of Christie's travels and Democratic objections really amount to anything?
"Ultimately, the way the budget will get negotiated is for the governor and legislative leaders to meet behind closed doors in the last two weeks of June," Dworkin said. "That's when they finalize the details in order to get something passed."
He said neither side wants to see the kind of governmental dysfunction that we have coming out of Washington right now, and they certainly don't want to shut down the government.
"Everyone has a stake in making sure things get funded and we have a balanced budget on time," he said.
Dworkin also said certain key budget questions have yet to be answered, including how the state is going to replenish the Transportation Trust Fund or handle the future of Atlantic City.