TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- After months of hammering away about fiscal responsibility, New Jersey's tough-talking governor took the wraps off his budget Tuesday.
Chris Christie's second annual state budget address ruffled feathers, bolstered his reputation among his supporters as a fiscal conservative and delivered an ultimatum to the Democratically-controlled legislature.
"To survive and to grow you need to build a realistic budget from the bottom up," Christie said. He later added "Budget decisions should be linked to performance. Every program, every department."
Gov. Christie talks about the need for sacrifice in his budget speech. 1010 WINS' Steve Sandberg reports.
Christie also said that if the legislature passed bills to reform the public employee health insurance program, which would force workers to pay more toward their benefits, he would double property tax rebates.
"The chance for middle-class taxpayers and seniors to receive double the property tax relief without raising taxes on anyone else is solely up to you," he said.
That ultimatum angered Democrats, who fired back after the speech Tuesday afternoon.
Christie talks about "the new normal in Trenton." WCBS 880's Marla Diamond reports.
"An ultimatum doesn't work. Threats don't work," Sen. Stephen Sweeney (D--Gloucester) told reporters including CBS 2's Christine Sloan.
"The idea of playing one segment of New Jersey against another -- which is in Governor Christie's playbook -- I thought was quite frightening," Democratic Senator Joseph Cryan said.
The Garden State's challenge this year is closing a nearly $11-billion budget deficit. In the budget speech, Christie said he wanted to cut overall spending, give tax breaks to small businesses and increase school aid, 1010 WINS' Steve Sandberg reported.
"The time to fix our schools is now," he said to applause.
Scott Kennedy owns an independent print shop in Montclair, and approves of the plan to give small businesses tax breaks. "The tax breaks are an absolute welcome sign that there is hope, that there is light at the end of the tunnel. That we can survive," he said.
Its unclear if the tax cuts would solve the state's staggering budget deficit, but Kennedy said it would be a good start. "It's a good move for all the busienesses. Regardless of whether there's a Democrat or Republican in Trenton."
Christie's budget, which he'll work to finalize with a Democrat-controlled state legislature, also included cuts to Medicaid.
"We have to fix Medicaid, because it's not only bankrupting the federal government, it's bankrupting every state," he said on Feb. 17.
- Christie will reportedly propose 200-million dollars in tax cuts
- Primarily for small businesses in an effort to help bolster the local economy..
((Obviously, that amount is just a fraction of what is needed to get new jerseys financial house back in order))
- and close a nearly 11-billion dollar budget deficit.
For Christie, that means not only lowering taxes, but downsizing government - and reducing spending...including funding to Medicaid.
(SOT DOW AM PKG CHRISTIE)
"WE HAVE TO FIX MEDICAID, BECAUSE IT'S NOT ONLY BANKRUPTING THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT - IT'S BANKRUPTING EVERY STATE."
Scott Kennedy owns an independent print shop in Montclair, New Jersey.
(SOT CLIP #1, 10:41-10:48, SCOTT KENNEDY, OWNER STUDIO 042)
THE TAX BREAKS ARE AN ABSOLUTE WELCOME SIGN THAT THERE IS HOPE, THAT THERE IS LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL. THAT WE CAN SURVIVE.
(O/C BRIDGE, CLIP #18, 29:22-29:30, JAY DOW, MONTCLAIR)
ITS UNCLEAR IF 200-MILLION DOLLARS IN TAX CUTS WOULD SOLVE THE STATES STAGGERING BUDGET DEFICIT. BUT SCOTT KENNEDY SAYS IT WOULD BE A GOOD START.
(SOT CLIP #2, 10:56-, SCOTT KENNEDY)
ITS A GOOD MOVE FOR ALL THE BUSIENESSES. REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THERES A DEMOCRAT OR REPUBLICAN IN TRENTON.
Of course, the governor is expected to continue pressing the teachers unions in his quest to reform public education - which includes a push to drastically change the way teachers are tenured.
In Montclair, Jay Dow, cbs2news.
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