As if New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) didn’t have enough troubles, in the spring, political conditions for the scandal-plagued governor deteriorated further. New Jersey’s debt was downgraded for the sixth time since Christie took office, right around the time the governor scrapped his state pension-reform plan, once considered Christie’s “landmark achievement.”
Late Friday afternoon, the news got just a little worse.
Wall Street analysts at Fitch Ratings today downgraded New Jersey’s bond rating for the second time this year, citing the state’s poor economic performance, Gov. Chris Christie’s rosy revenue forecasts – which failed to materialize – and his decision to plug the resulting budget gap by cutting $2.4 billion in funding for the state’s strained pension system. […]“New Jersey’s economic performance continues to lag that of the nation and a multitude of long-term spending demands are expected to prolong the achievement of sound financial operations,” the analysts wrote. Fitch is keeping a “negative outlook” for New Jersey, meaning an upgrade of the state’s credit rating is unlikely.
This was the second time Fitch downgraded New Jersey’s debt, but the Garden State faced similar judgments from Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s. All told, since Christie took office, New Jersey has faced seven downgrades – and as the Star-Ledger’s report noted, that’s “the most under any New Jersey governor.”
Of course, Christie has only been in office five years. Presumably he still has time to break his own record.
What’s more, as we talked about in May, it’s hard to even imagine what Christie will say when he launches his presidential campaign about his only experience in elected office. He can’t talk about his management skills, or his jobs record, or his fiscal record, or his legislative accomplishments – and bluster does not a national campaign make.
In the meantime, it was exactly one year ago today that members of Christie’s team conspired and launched their dangerous scheme in Fort Lee, and the scandal remains very much alive. Ted Mann reported just yesterday:
Hours after he angrily reversed now-infamous lane closures at the George Washington Bridge almost a year ago, Patrick Foye, the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, arranged for a private meeting with a top appointee of Gov. Chris Christie, to demand an explanation of the incident.Having already denounced the lane closure scheme as hazardous and illegal in an email to the agency’s board, executive staff and lawyers, Mr. Foye met in his Manhattan office with Bill Baroni, the deputy executive director and a top appointee of the New Jersey governor. Mr. Foye, for this showdown, brought along his chief of staff, John Ma, as a witness.The closures, Mr. Baroni said, were “something Trenton wanted,” according to people briefed on the conversation.
Trenton, of course, is New Jersey’s capital, though it’s unclear exactly who in Trenton “wanted” this.
Mann’s report followed a related Star-Ledger piece that ran last week, noting, “Port Authority police officers working at the George Washington Bridge last September say they were told by superiors to keep quiet after expressing concern that closing local access lanes would snarl traffic, according to a summary of the officers’ accounts.”
Indeed, when one veteran police officer said over the radio that the lane closures were creating a public hazard, a supervisor told him to “shut up.”
Aliyah Frumin added that the Democratic National Committee is “launching a geographically-targeted ad blitz” today, highlighting the one-year anniversary of the scandal.