Christie bashes 'do-nothing' Legislature

UPDATE: For the full story about the town hall in Jackson, click here.

We're in the Ocean County suburb of Jackson today (see Johnny and June sing "Jackson" below!) as the governor uses his town hall meeting to label the Democrats as the "do-nothing Legislature" and mock them for refusing to pass a litany of bills he has proposed.

Citing the number of voting sessions each legislative house has held each of the last several months (generally one or two), Christie pointed to lists on cardboard signs showing that he proposed "reform" for education, political ethics and public benefits while Legislators dealt with things like the creation of Fall Prevention Awareness Week.

"There's not enough weeks in a decade to be aware of all the Awareness Weeks that they pass," he said. "We're aware of so much in New Jersey, it's incredible."

Before a friendly, silver-haired crowd at a 55-and-over community, the gov stood in front of a sign that read "72 days" - for the number of days left before the Legislature leaves for summer break and campaigning. He reminded the largely silver-haired crowd that every seat in the Legislature is up this November.

"You need to help me put the heat on these folks," Christie said, imploring the crowd to call and e-mail the Democratic leaders of the Legislature. "It can be a very easy message: Get to work. Get to work. That's all."

You'll be hearing a lot of this from the governor and Republican legislative candidates in the coming months. They will say the reason why your property taxes are still high is because the Dems won't pass his "tool kit" package of bills. But the Democrats will tell you that the reality is a whole lot murkier.

First, Democratic Senate President Stephen Sweeney is actively negotiating with the administration on health benefits and pension changes for public workers - the biggest item on Christie's to-do list - and a compromise could considerably lower spending and, therefore, property taxes.

Second, Sweeney notes that the Democrats have passed all the elements of Christie's so-called property tax "tool kit" that he says would actually affect taxes. Democrats can't be blamed, therefore, for high property taxes, Sweeney says. Instead, Democrats blame Christie's pattern of cutting state spending and passing along costs to towns and schools.

More on the contours of both arguments in tomorrow's Inquirer and on But in the mean time, your thoughts? Do you want to give Christie a Republican Legislature in November, enabling him to do virtually all he wants? Or do you want to continue to check his power with the Dems?

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