New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is out with a new video, obtained exclusively by Right Turn:
What’s this all about? Well, it is, most immediately, all about his February budget address, in which he made this offer:
So today, in this budget, I am once again calling on the legislature to pass pension and benefit reform. In our negotiations on the interest arbitration cap, Mr. President and Madam Speaker, you promised me and committed to the people of New Jersey to bring a real reform package forward and make it law. And I am pleased that it remains a priority for both of you.
President Sweeney, I heard you loud and clear when you were quoted recently as saying: “I want this thing done by the middle of March. That’s my goal, to get the pension bill done. But I want to get this stuff finished because it has to be finished. This is what’s killing the state of New Jersey. The cost of the pension and health care are destroying the State’s economy.”
You were right. And I know that Speaker Oliver agrees with you, when she said, “Our system has become unsustainable for taxpayers and public workers alike, so changing this system is a priority.”
I am asking you both, and the members of this legislature, to make good on the promise to pass comprehensive pension and benefit reform on Senator Sweeney’s timetable, by the middle of March. And as I am asking the Democratic Leadership to make good on their promise, I am offering a powerful incentive to sweeten the pot. If you pass real reform, along Senator Sweeney’s timetable, I will make a $500 million payment to the pension fund immediately, not wait until sometime in Fiscal Year 2012, which is all that the law we passed last year requires. This would be the first payment made since fiscal year 2009, by anyone, Democrat or Republican. Let’s not wait - real reform on Senator Sweeney’s timetable - real money into the pension fund immediately.
Next, enacting reform of our public employee health insurance program now will enable us to take another vital step - providing critical property tax relief to those who need it most: hard working, middle-class New Jerseyans and seniors.
I am proposing today to double the property tax rebate for middle class families and our seniors, to ease the transition to the 2 percent property tax cap we are faithfully implementing this year.
In other words, he gave the legislature a choice: If the legislature actually passes the health-benefit reform proposal that Christie unveiled in September, they can double the property tax rebate for New Jersey taxpayers.
This has been Christie’s pattern to date: Make a compelling conservative policy proposal, put the ball in the Democrats’ court, use his rock star status and communication skills to turn up the heat and force the Democrats to, in his words, “make a choice.” It was an effective approach in passing his first budget.
But is this only about his budget? For those who are thinking maybe, just maybe, there might be more to his video productions than just New Jersey politics, his latest video will only fuel those suspicious -- and give hope to near-desperate Republicans looking the an impressive 2012 presidential candidate. It is this type of impressive media imaging that made Christie a GOP favorite, and might, if he wins another round with the state legislature, increase the pleas for him to throw his hat into the 2012 presidential ring. And if he succeeds in pushing through his agenda, it will be increasingly hard to believe, as he has said to put off those urging his nomination, that he isn’t “ready” to be president. If not him, who? If not 2012, when?