Totally apart from whatever political and potentially criminal trouble Governor Chris Christie may face from U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman and other investigations the nation's credit rating institutions are raising questions about his competence as a financial manager. Today Bloomberg News reports One more credit downgrade Governor Chris Christie will match the record. Rating companies panned the Governors second-term revenue forecasts.
Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service give New Jersey negative outlooks, meaning more cuts are possible as the state’s economic rebound trails the nation’s. Fitch’s cut this month brought the tally of downgrades under Christie to five. Only California and Illinois have lower grades among U.S. states.
Christie, 51, took office in 2010 pledging to end years of Democratic bungling of state finances and fix a pension system heading toward insolvency. His administration has overestimated revenue projections for three straight years, necessitating one- time measures to close mid-year gaps. With less than two months left in the fiscal year, he faces an $807 million hole. ...
The first Republican elected New Jersey governor since 1997, Christie staked a potential 2016 presidential run on a reputation for checking spending. He has said his job was to be “the adult in the room” in a state where Democrats borrowed or raised taxes to solve budget deficits.
Darryl Isherwood, of Star-Ledger reports the same story in Report: Christie approaching record for credit rating downgrades.
Currently, both Fitch and Moody’s maintain negative outlooks, which could signal further downgrades are on the way.
An $807 million revenue shortfall for the current fiscal year that ends June 30 has the ratings agencies concerned over how the hole will be plugged. In its latest report on the state’s rating, Moody’s called the hole “credit negative,” saying the hole could be plugged with one shot revenues.
“Options will include structural cuts to operations, one-time cuts to large year-end expenditures, use of fund balance, and other one-time solutions,” Moody’s analyst Baye Larsen wrote in a May 1 comment. “Given that the state has relied on one-time solutions to solve mid-year gaps in the current year and past several years, it is highly likely that one-time measures will be part of this solution.”
I feel sad for the citizens for New Jersey.
A state is a terrible thing to waste.
3:55 PM PT: Irwin S. Stoolmacher is president of Stoolmacher Consulting Group and writes a guest column in the Star-Ledger entitled Opinion: Gov. Christie fosters culture that embraces abuse of power, and create a culture where two of the highest members of the Port Authority he appointed, "felt it was OK to use government resources to punish political opponents." Stoolmacher asserts that Bridgegate took place because of this culture.
One of the more frustrating aspects of Bridgegate is that there is no indication that Gov. Christie has learned anything from it. At a recent press conference, he was back to his old antagonistic ways, attacking, deriding and berating a reporter in a condescending, rude manner for a question he didn’t like.
His behavior was a replay of what we have come to expect from him: the abusive and disrespectful manner he employed in mistreating a wide assortment of New Jerseyans at town meetings over the years. The governor will continue to lash out with impunity against journalists, teachers, union officials, judges, political opponents and anyone else who dares to question his views.
Gov. Christie’s “us against them” mentality and laxity with regard to ethical standards created and encouraged a culture characterized by widespread abuse of power, including retribution, deception and conflict of interest. A top Port Authority official in a recent article in The New Yorker, by Ryan Lizza, said it this way: “There was a culture that created some of this stuff in the whole Christie world. He was running for re-election, and he wanted the Christie-crats to get as many endorsements as he could. There was a list of names, and the culture was to get it done.”