Standard & Poor’s lowered its outlook on New Jersey from stable to negative today “to reflect our view of the risk of revenue assumptions we view as optimistic, continued reliance on one-time measures to offset revenue shortfalls, and longer-term growing expenditure pressures,” said S&P credit analyst John Sugden. The pressures include increasing obligations to the government worker pension fund, more Medicaid funding and debt service.
Governor Christie is getting the blame for this but are his critics correct? Let’s look at a sampling.
Union County freeholder Daniel Sullivan blames the state for forcing the county to privatize a hospital:
WRONG!. Medicare and Medicaid are federal programs and the blame rightly belongs with a dysfunctional health-care system exacerbated by Obamacare. But what would you expect from a guy who admits:
The Democratic Governor’s Association — headed by Christie foil Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley — noted that:
“The worsening outlook is just the latest in a string of disappointments that cut through Christie’s overblown rhetoric and point to the reality of his harmful “reforms” — which have blown a hole in the state’s budget, driven up unemployment and property taxes, and left the state’s economic growth lagging 47th out of 50 states.”
WRONG! If they’re referring to those pension “reforms” it is not their severity but rather their weakness that continues to plague finances now and in the near future.
NJ Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg said Christie’s economic legacy includes the worst unemployment rate in 35 years, the third worst economic performance rating of the 50 states, the second-worst mortgage foreclosure rate in the country and a 20 percent rise in property taxes.
Hard to argue since I’ll be seeing her on Saturday when we pick up our NJFOG LIFT awards.
New Jersey is a fiscal mess and Governor Christie should take a portion of the blame though not necessarily for what he did but rather for what he failed (and is failing) to do.