'This Week' Transcript: Geithner

So these billions that you're not funding, are you doing this just by executive fiat? How does this work? Because they're legal obligations, right?

CHRISTIE: No, listen, the legislature passed this budget. The budget I presented on March 16th has $11 billion in less spending than was projected to be done through the Corzine administration.

And so Patrick Murray is a pollster, and he's OK as a pollster, but he's not going to be all that great as a governor, because what we did here was we took $1.7 billion less in education funding. Well, a billion of that was federal stimulus money that had been spent in one year by the Corzine administration, and we were left with $1 billion hole. Really what we did was we reduced it by about $820 million in educational spending.

Across the board, Jake, we had to reduce spending. Every department of state government was cut. And so there are going to be some cuts you make you like and some that you like less, but when you have an $11 billion hole to fill, you have to fill it.

Finally, on pensions, I wasn't going to put $3 billion into a failing pension system. We need pension reform. I passed some already for new hires in March, and now this fall we're going to go after current employees and pension reform and health benefit reform because we're going broke.

TAPPER: Now, one -- in that clip, you said that there were no new tax increases on people of the state of New Jersey, but also your budget did not fund $1 billion in direct property tax rebates, the homestead rebate. That means that people's property taxes are going to go up.

CHRISTIE: Well, no, what we did, Jake, was we did a couple of things. First, we changed it from a property tax rebate program to a direct credit. We spent about $20 million a year in processing these checks and borrowing the money to send out to people. We've eliminated that.

And what we did was we skipped three-quarters of that payment in the current fiscal year as part of the shared sacrifice that everybody was going to have to make. I wasn't going to cut just programs for the vulnerable; I wasn't going to cut just programs for the rich, but programs for the middle class. Everything had to be cut.

But that program will be back as a direct tax credit in the fourth quarter of fiscal '11.

TAPPER: Now, that shared sacrifice -- I mean, is that not a tax increase, even if it's a -- I mean, if you're -- if you're taking away a tax rebate, even temporarily, that's a tax increase, isn't it?

CHRISTIE: No, I don't -- I don't see it that way. And in addition, what we did was we're giving the tools now to municipalities with a 2 percent property tax cap that we passed this July by me calling the legislature back into special session and with the tools that we're going to be passing this fall for them to cut spending even more at the municipal level so that people are not going to see a huge increase over the course of the next four years in their property taxes at all.

TAPPER: OK, there's been a lot of tension between you and teachers, as you've been wielding your budget ax. Here's one example from a recent town hall meeting.


(UNKNOWN): You're not compensating me for my education and you're not compensating me for my experience. That's...

CHRISTIE: Well, you know what? Then you don't have to do it.

(UNKNOWN): Teachers do it because they love it. That's the only reason I do it.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...