Looks like Fox News isn't becoming Governor Chris Christie's (R. NJ) favorite place to go to for soft-ball interviews. Fox's Chris Wallace had some things for Christie to address regarding how effective his tax cuts for the rich are working for New Jersey's economy:
Noting that Christie’s approval ratings have dropped significantly in the Garden State, Wallace questioned his approach:
WALLACE: You’re taking some criticism now for the financial situation in New Jersey. You decided to cut payments to pension funds and instead of raising taxes on millionaires and businesses. The credit rating for New Jersey has actually been downgraded eight times your watch, and the polls in New Jersey show you with your lowest favorability rating since you became governor. What’s going on?
CHRISTIE: Well, first of all, Chris, you have to remember what we inherited five years ago — an $11 billion deficit budget, 10 years of consecutive tax increase increases at the state legal. This was an awful mess. And now, what have we done? We’ve had five balanced budget in a row, we’ve had $2.3 billion in tax cuts to businesses of New Jersey, 143,000 new private sector jobs and an unemployment rate that’s gone from 9.7 percent down to 6.5 percent We have work to do in New Jersey no question. But we’ve gotten a lot of things done over the course of the last five years and I’m proud of that record.
Christie also boasted that New Jersey is now spending less in FY15 than it did in FY2008. But his approach of tax cuts for the rich and pension cuts for everyone else has not been effective for the state. While he takes credit for bringing down the unemployment rate, New Jersey’s results have fallen short of the national average. Indeed, New Jersey’s 2009 unemployment rate of 9.7 percent mirrored the national average — but the current 6.5 percent rate is 0.6 percent higher than the 5.9 percent rate unemployment nationally. Over that time, as Wallace noted, the state has had its credit rating downgraded more times than under any other governor in New Jersey history, and to the second lowest level in the nation.
Earlier in the interview, Wallace brought up Christie's minimum wage remarks:
"For people making $7.25 an hour, the minimum wage now, they say that getting an increase to $10 an hour would make a big difference in their lives, and you were being cavalier about it," Wallace said to Christie.
The governor said he was just being honest.
"I’m saying it exactly as I see it," Christie responded. "What we need to do in this country is not have debate over a higher minimum wage. We have to have a debate over creating better-paying middle class jobs in this country. If that somehow doesn’t comport with what people in the political elite want, well, I’m sorry."