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Public Statements

88 Ways Chris Christie Will Fix New Jersey

Statement

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MAKING EVERY DOLLAR COUNT

1. One:
I will change the way our state budgets its dollars by building our budget upward. I will first determine how much money we have, then determine our most important priorities, and then fund those top priorities. Less critical programs will have to wait.
2. Two:
I will stop the instant renewals of ineffective programs by ending the practice of providing automatic incremental budget increases across the board, or requiring across-the-board cuts in programs. Across the board increases and cuts are an inefficient method of deciding what programs deserve increases, decreases or funding at all.
3. Three:
I will insist that every spending program be placed on the table for discussion come budget time before it is funded.
4. Four:
I will make full use of my veto pen - the absolute veto, conditional veto, and line-item veto -- to shape legislative and budget policy.
5. Five:
I will rely only on recurring revenue to balance our state budget, not one-shot gimmicks like federal stimulus aid or other revenue unlikely to recur in future years.
6. Six:
I will save taxpayer dollars with an independently-elected State Auditor who will focus on annual audits of accounts and funds. Beyond the Auditor's stricter accounting, the office will save additional tax dollars by combining the overlapping and ineffective efforts of political appointees like the State Auditor, Comptroller, State Commission of Investigation, and Inspectors General.
7. Seven:
I will run our state government like a business by having the State Auditor conduct regular performance reviews on all state programs, local governments and school districts to ensure they are performing their intended purpose with respect and care for tax dollars.
8. Eight:
I will recoup wasted taxpayer dollars by appointing a Special Prosecutor to conduct a thorough audit of government programs and will seek reimbursement of misspent funds until our State Auditor is in place.
9. Nine:
I will increase accountability in our spending practices by barring private sector companies who misspend or overspend state funds from future state contracts until they provide restitution back to the state.
10. Ten:
I will eliminate wasteful and inappropriate state purchases by appointing a “Taxpayer Advocate” in the Division of Purchase and Property to audit each and every government purchase order until our State Auditor is in place. No more $600 cellphones for state employees.
11. Eleven:
I will require a “sunset” provision of four years on any new or expanded program and veto spending for any new (or expanded) program that doesn't include such a provision. I'll measure the performance of each and every government program. If a program isn't serving taxpayers efficiently and effectively, I'll eliminate it.
12. Twelve:
I will require a 2/3 majority vote to impose any new tax, or to increase existing taxes. By passing a State Constitutional Amendment, we can prevent massive tax increases in the future, like the 103 tax increases passed during the Corzine/McGreevey administrations.
13. Thirteen:
I will save taxpayer dollars and end political cronyism by eliminating political patronage jobs.
14. Fourteen:
I will lower overtime costs by reducing the number of state holidays and eliminating those not recognized as federal holidays.
15. Fifteen:
I will increase efficiency and lower costs by changing to a single, unitary approach to state public employee compensation, benefits, and work rules -- ending the separate statutes governing health benefits, antiquated civil service rules, and the collective bargaining agreements.
16. Sixteen:
I will fight pension abuse, starting with the removal of more than 300 political appointees who are a part of the pension system by virtue of being paid to attend monthly meetings of boards and commissions of which they are members.
17. Seventeen:
I will increase fairness and reduce costs by bringing state public employee compensation and benefits back in line with employees who have defined contribution plans (such as federal government employees) by closing defined benefit plans for new employees, and replacing them with defined contribution plans.
18. Eighteen:
I will eliminate pension and health benefits for all part-time employees and political appointees. Only full-time employees should qualify for a public pension.
19. Nineteen:
I will require all new state hires and state employee retirees to contribute to their health insurance costs.
20. Twenty:
I will implement aggressive economic growth strategies via public-private partnerships like the “New Jersey Partnership for Action.” The Partnership for Action will save taxpayer dollars by consolidating Trenton's many inefficient and ineffective fragmented economic development activities into one single agency.
21. Twenty One:
I will further consolidate and streamline government by eliminating the position of “Chief of the Office of Economic Growth.”

FIXING GOVERNMENT

1. Twenty Two:
I will eliminate the Legislature's conflicts of interest by strengthening ethics laws to require State Legislators to either rescuse themselves from legislative actions that affect their private sector interests, or publicly disclose these conflicts when they occur.
2. Twenty Three:
I will fully eliminate dual office-holding by our State's elected officials by proposing immediate changes to state law.
3. Twenty Four:
I will ban the practice of dual public employment, whereby one person holds a full-time government job while also holding a salaried, elected position.
4. Twenty Five:
I will reform New Jersey's boards and commissions by only appointing those without conflicts of interest, refusing to create boards and commissions where the memberships create new conflicts of interest, and implementing statutory changes (as needed) to remove any current agency members with conflicts of interest.
5. Twenty Six:
I will hold government officials accountable for their actions by requiring any elected or appointed official convicted of a crime connected to their official position to forfeit their pension benefits.
6. Twenty Seven:
I will strengthen our weak “pay to play” laws by eliminating special interest labor union loopholes to ensure labor unions are treated just like any other entities that have contracts with government.
7. Twenty Eight:
I will give New Jerseyans a stronger voice in government by amending the State Constitution to create a statewide initiative and referendum process to allow public questions to be placed on the ballot.
8. Twenty Nine:
I will provide New Jerseyans regularly occurring opportunities to petition for their government for action by amending the State Constitution to include a provision, whereby every 10 years, voters will have the opportunity to convene a popularly-elected Constitutional Convention.
9. Thirty:
I will increase honesty and openness in government by requiring fully searchable and transparent websites for all state and local governments and school districts, providing links to property records and taxes, government payrolls, expenditures, school performance report cards, and other information. All information would be accessible to the public no later than 45 days following the close of each fiscal year.
10. Thirty One:
I will increase the transparency required of candidates seeking office by making the State's currently inadequate Personal Financial Disclosure Statements match the same heightened level of transparency as their federal counterpart, which will provide voters with a more detailed, comprehensive look at those on the ballot.
11. Thirty Two:
I will allow voters the opportunity to access candidates' Personal Financial Disclosure Statements online. Currently, these Statements can only be accessed in person, in Trenton. I've already proactively posted my Statement on this website to allow you the opportunity to view my financial background.

CUTTING TAXES

1. Thirty Three:
I will cut New Jersey's income taxes across the board for all taxpayers. Our tax rates are oppressive and are driving residents out of state. No more.
2. Thirty Four:
I will encourage investment and expansion of New Jersey-based small businesses by offering an additional income tax cut for those who derive business income from New Jersey-based small businesses.
3. Thirty Five:
I will reduce the corporate business tax rate to give New Jersey businesses a competitive advantage. With our tax rates among the highest of our neighboring states, reducing the corporate business tax rate will create a better business climate with which to attract private sector investment to New Jersey.
4. Thirty Six:
I will eliminate the “double-taxation” on New Jersey's S-Corporations for the 80,000 taxpayers currently paying the corporation “minimum” tax, putting our state in line with the other 47 states and federal government which have implemented this policy.
5. Thirty Seven:
I will eliminate the hidden “investment tax” on New Jersey-based businesses which acts as a penalty for businesses for being based in New Jersey. Instead of being taxed for only the amount of sales in New Jersey, the “investment tax” also factors in the level of investment (i.e., real estate, payroll, etc.) a company has in New Jersey. I will immediately reverse this.

GETTING NEW JERSEY WORKING AGAIN

1. Thirty Eight:
I will help New Jersey's small businesses lower health insurance costs by allowing the purchase of health insurance policies from out-of-state insurance companies that offer better rates or better coverage. More competition and more consumer choice will lower costs.
2. Thirty Nine:
I will provide relief from our state's overbearing regulations -- restoring balance and fairness -- by creating a permanent “Red Tape Review Group.” The “Red Tape Review Group” will bring both elected branches of government together in a bi-partisan fashion to perform a top-to-bottom overhaul of New Jersey's Administrative Code.
3. Forty:
I will review all current regulations and rescind rules that do not have a sound scientific or other technical basis, are not consistent with other state policy goals or legislative intent, or don't effectively protect and promote the public interest (including the urgent need for economic development and private-sector job creation).
4. Forty One:
I will implement an immediate freeze on proposed new agency rules and regulations (except those deemed necessary for public emergency), until the Red Tape Review Group completes its review.
5. Forty Two:
I will ensure rules and regulations are scientifically sound by establishing rule-making scientific advisory committees (where appropriate) to evaluate the underlying science in DEP or other departmental rule proposals.
6. Forty Three:
I will eliminate all current inadequate and unsupported rule impact statements. Impact statements will be strengthened, more detailed and with widely accepted supporting expert analysis. New rule impact statements will require more meaningful and accurate cost/benefit analysis.
7. Forty Four:
I will ensure proposed rules are serving an actual and critical public need by making sure each contains a true “risk analysis” supported by real data.
8. Forty Five:
I will promote transparency in the process of creating new rules and policy by not adopting any proposed rules until all implementing policy procedures and documents (such as technical manuals and forms) are in place and are available for inspection and public comment and input.
9. Forty Six:
I will remove the incentive for regulatory agencies to charge excessive or unnecessary fees by eliminating agency funding from fees or fines. Agencies will no longer rely on fees and fines for their own funding, removing their built-in incentive to over-regulate and over-charge.
10. Forty Seven:
I will restore fairness and common-sense to our state's legal liability policies by making it more difficult for out-of-state plaintiffs to sue in New Jersey courts.
11. Forty Eight:
I will end the abuse and manipulation of New Jersey's civil justice system by preventing the admission of flimsy and dubious testimony offered by expert witnesses.
12. Forty Nine:
I will make our state more affordable for consumers and businesses by making it more difficult to file class action lawsuits for frivolous reasons.
13. Fifty:
I will eliminate special interest labor union giveaways that increase spending and taxes by ending the use of project labor agreements, which drive up the cost of public construction projects and fail to deliver a public benefit at a time when the economy is shedding jobs and taxpayers are struggling to make ends meet.
14. Fifty One:
I will save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and expedite key projects by utilizing innovative procurement methodologies like Design/Build/Operate/Maintain (DBOM).

EDUCATING OUR CHILDREN

1. Fifty Two:
I will devote more resources to assist parents and educators attempting to start new charter schools by utilizing my revamped Department of Education (DOE) to encourage and nurture those seeking to start a charter school.
2. Fifty Three:
I will appoint a Commissioner of the Department of Education whose priority will be approving high-quality charter school applications, unlike the Corzine Administration, who in 2008 approved only one of twenty-two applications.
3. Fifty Four:
I will ensure that the application of the school funding law treats charter schools fairly, and that state aid follows the child to the charter school, as the law intended.
4. Fifty Five:
I will eliminate the role that school boards in failing districts play in the charter school application process.
5. Fifty Six:
I will expand the existing inter-district school choice program to allow children attending chronically failing schools to seek admission to any public school with available space willing to accept them. This “dollars-follow-the-child” model would encourage low-cost, successful school districts to voluntarily admit children from failing, high-cost districts.
6. Fifty Seven:
I will give greater management authority to successful public schools in failing school districts to give greater budgetary and personnel authority to building principals.
7. Fifty Eight:
I will create a tuition tax credit scholarship program for low-income students in failing schools to attend public and non-public schools that agree to admit any applying student and accept the scholarship as payment-in-full.
8. Fifty Nine:
I will meet with all state college, university and community college presidents on a regular basis to ensure our college presidents have a real seat at the table in Trenton, not a backseat.
9. Sixty:
I will make sure the Executive Director of the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education is my advisor on higher education and ensure he/she has a seat at all Cabinet meetings.
10. Sixty One:
I will reinstate the Higher Education Incentive Endowment Program to spur private investment in higher education and help with tuition stabilization, scholarships, recruiting faculty and building new classroom and research facilities by providing state matching funds for endowment contributions of at least $1 million at a rate of 10 percent per year, helping to encourage and reward attainment of major private gifts.
11. Sixty Two:
I will create a new “Outstanding Scholars” program to provide public and independent institutions of higher education with campus-based funding to recruit high achieving New Jersey students as measured by class rank and SAT scores.
12. Sixty Three:
I will ensure the New Jersey Educational Opportunity Fund specifically provides and expands the mentoring and tutoring component to provide each student personalized counsel and track their progress from the time they begin their higher education experience until graduation.
13. Sixty Four:
I will enact the “Putting New Jersey Back to Work” program to connect community colleges with businesses needing to train new employees with a particular skill-set.
14. Sixty Five:
I will add two college presidents to my “New Jersey Partnership For Action” to ensure our state's businesses have access to skilled workers in the appropriate fields and to tie in our economic development plans to ensure New Jerseyans have the right skill sets for today's emerging industries.
15. Sixty Six:
I will provide grants for public four year institutions and community colleges to ensure four year institutions and community colleges are offering curriculum and training to prepare the New Jersey workforce for jobs in the wind and solar industry.
16. Sixty Seven:
I will offer challenge grants to colleges with existing teaching certification programs to help develop and implement innovative training and professional development programs.
17. Sixty Eight:
I will help more New Jerseyans afford health insurance by permitting insurance companies to offer “mandate-free” policies. These policies might better fit the needs of some consumers who may not need extravagant benefits, such as young or single consumers.
18. Sixty Nine:
I will reduce the cost of health insurance for small businesses by allowing national trade associations and membership organizations that have health plans to market to their New Jersey members.

BRINGING BACK OUR CITIES

1. Seventy:
I will implement my innovative program, CityTrak, to measure progress and enforce accountability in the areas of education, economic development and crime. CityTrak will combine organizational development with data and geographic systems technology. If a program is working, it will stay in place; if a program isn't working, we'll get rid of it. With the implementation of CityTrak in our urban communities, failure will no longer be an option.
2. Seventy One:
I will institute the “First Houses” Program to foster growth policies that encourage rapid new population influxes to generate a true re-birth of our cities.
3. Seventy Two:
I will exempt new residents living within Garden State Growth Zones from New Jersey's gross income tax to attract people to our urban communities and encourage new market-rate residential housing.
4. Seventy Three:
I will keep the most dangerous criminals off of the streets by proposing an amendment to the New Jersey Constitution that will mirror federal bail laws and permit pre-trial preventive detention based on public safety concerns.
5. Seventy Four:
I will make our streets safer and reduce recidivism by more aggressively enforcing stricter prison terms for violent offenders and requiring drug rehabilitation and vocational training for non-violent drug offenders.
6. Seventy Five:
I will enact strict new laws to disrupt gang activity, including stricter mandatory minimum sentencing laws for gang related crimes and stricter penalties for illegal gun possession.
7. Seventy Six:
I will create new programs that provide alternatives to gang membership, facilitated by community groups, faith-based groups, and other local institutions.
8. Seventy Seven:
I will create gang prevention programs in schools that focus on the dangers and consequences of gang membership, as well as after-school programs.
9. Seventy Eight:
I will create and train local neighborhood watch groups to report gang activity.
10. Seventy Nine:
I will change parole law to ensure violent offenders serve their entire period of imprisonment.
11. Eighty:
I will create Garden State Growth Zones to streamline and make available all incentives, tax breaks, loans and grants to all municipalities in the program.

ENERGY AS INDUSTRY

1. Eighty One:
I will be New Jersey's Chief Energy Advocate, working tirelessly to convince foreign and domestic companies that New Jersey is the place to manufacture energy -- I will seek out these businesses and bring them home.
2. Eighty Two:
I will launch the "Choose New Jersey Energy" Campaign to market New Jersey's skilled workforce, technology base, manufacturing base, port facilities to energy producers, innovators and developers.
3. Eighty Three:
I will consolidate all renewable energy manufacturing efforts under the "Renew NJ" program, which will promote and market the state to prospective energy manufacturers both at home and abroad, and deliver grants, loans and other state incentives in an efficient and timely manner.
4. Eighty Four:
I will make New Jersey an attractive place to manufacture energy by offering a tax credit up to 100% of the corporate business taxes or the insurance premium tax for any wind turbine and manufacturing facility that locates in New Jersey.
5. Eighty Five:
I will make New Jersey a center for clean energy production jobs, committing to a 5/1 ratio of production jobs in the next four years.
6. Eighty Six:
I will jumpstart our state's solar energy production by requiring the installation of solar farms on the 800 landfills in our state.
7. Eighty Seven:
I will promote the construction of solar farms by not requiring solar applications to seek use variances or zone changes in non-residential areas.
8. Eighty Eight:
I will take bold steps to encourage the installation of solar panels by allowing permanently preserved farmland to use up to 20% for solar panel installation.


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