Chris Christie’s decision to sit out the 2012 presidential race is certainly a dual-edged sword.
Unfortunately, it takes the almost-certain GOP frontrunner out of the lineup, and leaves the party trying to figure out who among the Rick Perrys and Michele Bachmanns is least insane — a difficult proposition.
But New Jersey is much stronger with Christie here, and we’re pleased he’s decided to do exactly what he insisted he’d do 67,349 times in the last year, and not seek the White House.
You may not agree with his YouTube moments, where he asks the bat be taken out on opponents, or likens students to the drug mules of the teachers’ union, but he is extremely effective at getting legislation passed, and most of it has been a windfall for business owners. He shot down the so-called “millionaire’s tax,” won major reforms to the public pension and benefits systems, and fitted a cap — however loose — over rising property taxes.
He’s turned Kim Guadagno loose on red tape, and between the lieutenant governor, the Business Action Center and the Economic Development Authority, businesses finally have a place to go with their troubles. On the incentives side, he’s really opened the floodgates — the Urban Transit Hub tax credit initiative and Business Retention and Relocation Assistance Grant have both enjoyed sizeable expansions, and on the way is Grow New Jersey, which should encourage redevelopment and investment in the state’s suburban markets. Choose New Jersey, meanwhile, offers the kind of outreach that other states have long enjoyed.
There’s no question candidate Christie would be spending little time in Trenton, and while we have confidence in Guadagno as a leader, her effectiveness is a result of her ability to focus on business needs. Were she playing a larger role, that focus would diminish.
After he’s helped fix New Jersey, we expect to see Christie in the hunt for the presidency, but until then, businesses should be happy to keep him here.