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opens in a new windowReactions to Christie’s 2015 State of the State speech

Brent Johnson | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

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TRENTON — Here is a look at what state lawmakers, officials, and business leaders are saying in the wake of Gov. Chris Christie’s 2015 State of the State address today:

Ian Sams Democratic National Committee spokesman

“Today, Chris Christie called for a ‘New Jersey renewal.’ After five years with Christie as governor, lord knows New Jersey needs one. The highest property taxes in the country, employment lagging the nation, a record eight credit downgrades — that’s the real state of the state under Christie, and it’s the record he’ll have to run a presidential campaign on. What’s worse, instead of tackling these issues, Christie’s taking off tomorrow for South Carolina before jetting to Iowa on Friday. Simply put, it’s clear what Christie’s priorities are: boosting his national ambition at the expense of the people he was elected to serve.”

State Assemblyman John Wisniewski D-Middlesex

“The thing I found most stunning is the governor talking about all the things that bring people to New Jersey. And he said our ‘world class’ transportation network. This is a day after NJ.com carried a story about the closure of a bridge in Morris County because there isn’t enough state money to fix it. I wasn’t sure if a word got dropped off and he meant to say ‘third world class.'”

State Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. R-Union

“He talked about real feelings, real people’s situations, real people’s dreams on education, conflicts and concerns that they address on a daily basis regarding family members impacted by addition, but also affordability, you’re a couple paychecks away from having some real issues if your employer moves out of state. All those things.”

State Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick R-Union

“He’s reaching out to the majority party saying, ‘Hey, let’s get moving on the agenda before we lose any further businesses, such as Mercedes Benz.’ I like his passion for the human spirit and for human being.”

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno On Mercedes moving out of New Jersey:

“We worked tirelessly to keep them. But the numbers just didn’t work for Mercedes Benz to keep them here.”

“Five years ago, we wouldn’t have known they were leaving. Now we are fighting to get a seat at the table. We are making ourselves competitive again. We can’t win every one but we are going to fight for every one.”

Hetty Rosenstein State director of the Communications Workers of America

On Christie’s remarks about the public-worker pension system:

“He talked about the pensioners and people who devoted their entire lives to public service, and he referred to their retirement security as a beast — an insatiable beast.”

“We are prepared for a very difficult struggle.”

Gordon MacInnes President, New Jersey Policy Perspective

“The governor had the chance to accurately acknowledge the state of our state. Unfortunately, he passed on the opportunity.

“Yes, some jobs have been created since the Great Recession, but not enough to bring back the middle class or lend a hand to striving working families. With only half the jobs lost in the recession restored, revenues have shrunk and with them the chance to contend with two highly visible and very large problems: pensions and transportation. He mentioned pensions and promised to solve a long-term problem during 2015. But the pending bankruptcy of the Transportation Trust Fund he ignored altogether.”

Jeff Tittel Director, New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club

“I thought his speech played well, especially with the mayors of Newark, Ohio and Trenton, Iowa. And that he’s actually fixing the (Transportation Trust Fund), which now is his Traveling Trust Fund. He’s also concerned about the environment. Especially the political environment in South Carolina and New Hampshire.”

David Pringle Campaign director, Clean Water Action

“It’s notable but not surprising he didn’t talk about the environment. He can’t run on his environmental record so he’s running from it. It’s not too late. He can still fix it. We want to help.”

Laurie Ehlbeck Director, New Jersey chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business

On Christie’s vow to veto any income tax increase:

“The Governor highlighted what our members have been saying for years, that increasing taxes and making it more difficult and expensive to do business in New Jersey will only result in businesses leaving our state,” Ehlbeck said. “I hope that the legislature will take the Governors words to heart and come together to cut taxes and make growing a small business in New Jersey a more prosperous venture.

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