While Gov. Chris Christie said he doesn’t know how Standard & Poor’s downgrade of the United States’ bond rating will affect the state, he said the chance that the country won’t pay its debts is zero.
Christie spoke about the rating change, a proposed increase in Hudson River tolls and the state of New Jersey’s economy at a press conference in Burlington City marking National Health Center Week.
Christie said the state is taking steps to improve its own credit status, adding that officials met with ratings agency representatives a week to 10 days ago and made a presentation that he said was well received.
He said the state has reduced the amount of its budget that depends on one-time revenue, from 13 percent two years ago to 2 percent in the current budget.
“That’s an extraordinary accomplishment,” Christie said. “It speaks to the long-term fiscal health of the state.”
Christie said he and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo haven’t signed off Port Authority toll increases, but added that neither one has threatened to veto the increase.
In response to a question about a Monmouth University poll showing that 51 percent of state residents want to leave the state — with taxes called the biggest reason — Christie said it showed the importance of lowering taxes and spending.
“People are tapped out in this state, and they’ve had enough,” Christie said.
A question about the troubled national economy prompted the governor to note that the state’s private sector has added jobs since he introduced the 2010-11 budget. He expressed concern about the national government’s effect on the economy, adding that while both parties in Washington are “playing partisan games,” President Barack Obama should step forward and lead.