New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie expressed disappointment in President Obama’s failure to commit to aggressive budget cuts and entitlement reform in last night’s State of the Union speech. In a CNBC interview that will run tonight on my show, the governor contrasted his New Jersey efforts to slash spending and reform government-union pensions and health benefits with the president’s weak approach.
While Mr. Christie would not reveal any specifics, he said he will unveil across-the-board tax cuts for New Jersey in his budget to be released in a few weeks. That’s a surprise.
Right now, Christie is in a slugfest with Gov. Pat Quinn of Illinois about businesses migrating to the Garden State and leaving the Land of Lincoln. While Christie acknowledged that his state ranks near the bottom of a business tax-climate index published by the Tax Foundation, he told me that the difference between New Jersey and Illinois is that Illinois is on a path of higher taxes and New Jersey is on a path of lower taxes.
The governor also continued his mantra that he is not ready to be president. I asked him if he might be ready for a draft in 12 months. He said it’s not in his heart, and added that he made a pledge to the voters of New Jersey to stay and get the job done. I mentioned that he was using the state as a laboratory of conservative reform on taxes, deficits, and entitlements — areas that exactly mirror the federal problem. And he agreed, telling me that he’s showing them how to get it done.
The governor recently had dinner with Mitt Romney, but he cautioned that the meeting should in no way be seen as a presidential commitment. He also cited recent visits with Haley Barbour, Tim Pawlenty, and Mitch Daniels, saying they are all good governors.