Chris Christie’s Presidential Prospects and the New Jersey Budget
Fully funding transportation projects and the public employees' pension and health benefits system would cost New Jersey billions of dollars and the state simply doesn't have that kind of cash. Raising the revenue would be all but impossible without tax increases and that's where presidential politics come into play with regard to the Fiscal Year 2016 State budget.
Political experts predicted Gov. Chris Christie isn't about to hike taxes if he is running for president.
"It's looks like we're looking at a budget that is going to have a lot of short-term fixes, plugging gaps and putting band aids on things," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. "These are the kinds of things that are going to have long-term negative impacts on the state because we're going to have to pay for them somewhere down the road."
Future governors and legislatures will have to deal with the problems later if Christie defers the hard choices as he probably will, Murray explained.
"Long-term solutions may require revenue increases and the kinds of things that somebody who is seeking the Republican nomination for president is not going to do," Murray predicted.
There is an undeniable balancing act when eying a presidential run while also governing a state, said Fairleigh Dickinson University Political Science Professor Peter Woolley. He said politics in New Jersey has now spread to the entire country because just about everyone believes Christie will run for president.
"He wants to go into New Hampshire and Iowa and Florida with a claim that he doesn't have significant budget troubles at home," Woolley said. "It's very hard for him or his team to separate New Jersey from presidential politics anymore."
The audience in primary states is looking at what Christie is doing in New Jersey and his audience in New Jersey is looking at the governor's attempt to speak to voters nationwide. Woolley agreed that tax increases are all but off the table this year in the Garden State.
"He (Christie) wants to make sure that his credibility as a budget manager is preserved," Woolley stated.