Should New Jerseyans Pay for Christie’s Out-of-State Trips?
According to recently released -- but incomplete -- records, Gov. Chris Christie's out-of-state travels have cost taxpayers almost $1 million. That is for State Police protection alone. One lawmaker calls the expenses unfair and she will seek to create a law to address the situation.
"Under my bill when the governor is traveling out-of-state on political business, not on state business the cost of his security and travel is charged not to the taxpayers, but to him or to any political organization he chooses to charge it to. The taxpayers of New Jersey should not be paying for purely political trips," said Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck).
A bill (S-2949) sponsored by Weinberg would ban the use of public funds to pay for any expenses incurred for travel, food, lodging, security, or any other purposes, incurred by the governor when traveling out-of-state and engaging in political activities.
In early July, Christie was asked by reporters in New Hampshire if he had given any thought to reimbursing the state for his out-of-state trips now that he was officially a presidential candidate.
"No, because in the end, anywhere I go the troopers need to go, whether I want them to go or not. So we are going to continue to conduct this in the same way I've always conducted it," Christie said.
With that in mind, what makes Weinberg think the governor would ever sign her bill is it passed the full Legislature?
"Certainly if the Legislature passes this it shows the will of the people and hopefully in this case the governor might have enough self-awareness to actually sign it," Weinberg said.
In an email, the governor's spokesman called Weinberg's bill, "another scene in the endless political drama being acted out by partisans in the Legislature, and there is no point to joining their daily theatrics."
The senator said recent polls revealed most New Jersey voters didn't think they should be footing the bill for Christie's travel expenses.
In a Monmouth University poll released July 2, more than four-fifths (82 percent) of the public felt that Christie's presidential campaign should pick up the tab for his security detail when he is making appearances outside of the Garden State. Just 1 percent said that state government should pony up the cash and 13 percent thought the costs should be shared.