- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 12, 2016

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - The latest on Gov. Chris Christie’s State of the State address. (All times local).

___

5 p.m.

Leaders of New Jersey’s Democratic-controlled Legislature hammered Gov. Chris Christie for making what they say was a presidential stump speech.

They also say they won’t give up on plans to push for mandated public pension payments despite Christie’s fiery criticism.



Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald said Tuesday’s State of the State amounted to “Chris Christie running for president.” Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto said after the address they’ll continue to push for the proposed ballot question, which must pass the Legislature once more before going to the ballot.

Christie focused part of his speech on the Democratic lawmakers’ efforts to constitutionally protect the public pension payment, saying that living up to the promise would require either unappealing spending cuts or tax hikes.

Sweeney says the measure calls for using the payment schedule indicated in Christie’s latest budget, making it possible for the state to deliver.

___

4 p.m.

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney says he will support having Atlantic City declare bankruptcy if the Legislature doesn’t quickly go along with legislation he plans to introduce giving the state control of the gambling resort’s finances.

Sweeney and senators Paul Sarlo and Kevin O’Toole said they will jointly introduce the bill Tuesday.

Atlantic City is already overseen by a state-appointed emergency manager, but Sweeney has taken a harder line in recent days with the resort. He says it cannot keep asking the state to bail it out from years of financial mismanagement.

Mayor Don Guardian says he is surprised at the takeover request, noting his administration has already made painful job and budget cuts.

___

3:40 p.m.

Gov. Chris Christie has proposed turning a recently closed state prison into a dedicated drug treatment facility for prison inmates and raising reimbursement rates for drug and mental health facilities

Christie told lawmakers in his State of the State address Tuesday that he wants to reopen the Mid-State Correctional Facility as a drug treatment facility.

He also proposed increasing reimbursement and Medicaid rates for mental health and substance abuse services by more than $100 million. Service providers treating the uninsured and poor in the state say they’ve been waiting several years for the increases.

Christie has made treating drug addiction as an illness a top priority in his time in office. His work in the area has also been a big part of his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

___

3:30 p.m.

Gov. Chris Christie says state lawmakers have to keep working to get things done and move the state forward rather than pander to special interests.

The Republican presidential candidate is delivering his State of the State address on Tuesday and says lawmakers risk driving residents to leave the state otherwise.

Christie called out lawmakers’ vote for a constitutional amendment to require quarterly payments to the state’s public workers pension fund. He says that would make New Jersey’s other residents second-class citizens.

The measure would go before voters if it’s approved again in the legislative session that began Tuesday.

___

3:20 p.m.

Gov. Chris Christie is highlighting what he says is the state’s economic recovery in his annual State of the State address.

Tuesday’s speech comes as his campaign gains steam in the first-to-vote primary state of New Hampshire, where the governor has picked up key endorsements, risen in the polls and become the focus of sharp attacks from rival camps.

It also comes as some of the state’s economic data improves. New Jersey’s unemployment rate has fallen to 5.3 percent from 9.8 percent when Christie took office in 2010.

He has also cited work on crime and education in the state.

His approval rating in New Jersey also has dipped to its lowest point.

___

2 p.m.

About 50 protesters lambasted Gov. Chris Christie ahead of his State of the State address, accusing him of putting his presidential run before the Garden State.

They blamed him for a litany of problems that range from lead poisoning to home foreclosures to a lack of transportation funding.

Organized by the liberal New Jersey Working Families Alliance, the protesters stood outside the Statehouse on Tuesday holding signs that listed the 261 days Christie’s spent campaigning outside of New Jersey and stating “Nice of you to stop by, Governor.”

Joe Mangino of the New Jersey Organizing Project, which advocates for Superstorm Sandy victims, criticized Christie for canceling the extension of a rental assistance program. Mangino also urged Christie to help Sandy victims facing home foreclosure.

___

12:30 p.m.

Members of the New Jersey Assembly and Senate took their oaths of office, officially starting the new legislative session.

The 217th session kicked off Tuesday as lawmakers weigh a possible takeover of Atlantic City’s finances and ahead of Gov. Chris Christie’s State of the State address.

The Assembly, which added seven new members, held its reorganization at the War Memorial across from the statehouse in a ceremony that included state police bagpipers. The state Senate, which did not have elections in November, began its new session in its statehouse chamber.

The start of the new session means any bills not sent to Christie’s desk die and must be re-introduced.

___

11:30 a.m.

New Jersey’s state Senate has passed changes to the centerpiece of a financial assistance package for Atlantic City.

The measure lets casinos make payments in lieu of taxes.

The bill requires the casinos to make $50 million in additional payments over seven years, and would share 13.5 percent of the money collected from the casinos with Atlantic County’s government and the city’s schools to help prevent tax increases for those entities.

It also includes other revenue streams other than gambling when calculating how much the casinos owe, which effectively sets a collective minimum of $120 million per year for the eight casinos.

The state Assembly approved the changes early Tuesday morning.

The revised bill now goes to Gov. Chris Christie.

___

9:45 a.m.

Gov. Chris Christie is trumpeting the state’s falling unemployment rate and says New Jersey’s best days are ahead of it. That’s according to a preview of his annual State of the State address posted online.

In a roughly 30-second clip (https://bit.ly/1mUg9XQ), the Republican presidential candidate says the state’s 5.3 percent unemployment rate and the addition of about 224,000 private sector jobs on Christie’s watch show the state is growing.

Christie is set to deliver the speech Tuesday afternoon.

The preview message fits with the pitch Christie is making on the campaign trail - that he’s best qualified to be president because as governor he’s enacted policies to boost the economy despite a hostile Legislature.

___

3 a.m.

Gov. Chris Christie is turning his attention from the Republican presidential campaign trail to New Jersey for the annual State of the State address.

Tuesday’s speech comes as his campaign gains steam in the first-to-vote primary state of New Hampshire, where the governor has picked up key endorsements, risen in the polls and become the focus of sharp attacks from rival camps.

It also comes as some of the state’s economic data improves. New Jersey’s unemployment rate has fallen to 5.3 percent from 9.8 percent when Christie took office in 2010.

But Christie also will be addressing a Democrat-controlled Legislature that added four seats in November’s election. His approval rating in New Jersey also has dipped to its lowest point.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide