Gov. Chris Christie today focused the bulk of his annual State of the State address on the damage and subsequent recovery efforts from Superstorm Sandy, which devastated the state of New Jersey in the closing days of October.
Christie called Sandy “the worst storm to strike New Jersey in 100 years,” but said despite the destruction the storm “did not destroy our spirit.”
“The people of New Jersey have come together as never before,” Christie said. “Across party lines. Across ideological lines. Across ages, races and backgrounds. From all parts of our state. Even from out of state. Everyone has come together.”
The governor issued a round of “thank yous” to the myriad of first responders, aid groups, utility workers and heroes who responded to the storm and helped fellow citizens.
The governor spent only a short time on the congressional aid bill that has taken more than 10 weeks to wind its way through Congress. Last week, the governor blasted House Republicans for failing to act on the bill, calling the delay politics at its worst.
“We have stood with the citizens of Florida and Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, Iowa and Vermont, California and Missouri in their times of need. Now I trust that they will stand with us,” the governor said.
The governor doubled down on previous statements that Sandy changed the game in the state, devastating the state’s economy “just when we were coming back from the national recession.”
From Sandy, the governor pivoted to the economy, doing his best to pump up what has so far been a tepid recovery in the state. As he has done in the past, Christie cited private-sector job growth, personal income growth and better than-expected income tax receipts as evidence of the recovering economy.
The governor spent much of the second half of the speech touting his accomplishments during his first three years in office, which he said include the 2 percent property tax cap instituted two years ago, reform of the interest arbitration system, pension and health benefits reform, tenure reform and higher education restructuring.
Christie cited his record on taxes, which include “Four years, four balanced budgets. No New taxes. New tax relief to create 75,000 new private-sector jobs.”
The governor outlined no new programs or proposals, preferring instead to focus on the past three years and the state’s efforts to rebuild after the storm.
“Rebuilding the homes and infrastructure damaged by Sandy is the next big challenge and it will take years,” he said. “We will need to spend our funds wisely and efficiently. We will need to cooperate. We will need to learn lessons from past disasters and listen to each other.”
In his closing, Christie beseeched the Legislature to work together in the rebuilding effort, in restoring the economy and “reclaiming the promise of New Jersey for future generations – presenting to our renewed excellence in our schools, a sound and balanced budget and a vibrant economy with jobs for those willing to work hard.”
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