Democrats respond to Gov. Chris Christie's State of the State address
TRENTON - In his annual address, Gov. Chris Christie said, "the state of our state is good and getting better," adding that, "in 2013, we have been blessed with a return to prosperity."
Top Democratic leaders say the governor could not be more wrong.
"We are continuing to climb out of what is a recession," Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D-Voorhees) said. "New Jersey continues to fall behind neighboring states and to struggle and languish in our recession."
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Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) added, "The unemployment numbers are very, very confusing. We're down for one reason, people stopped looking for work. That's not a victory."
Democrats also took issue with Christie's comments about the state pension system. The governor noted that annual pension costs and debt service will soon top $1 billion and warned that unless New Jersey makes tough choices now, the state will be left weakened. But the Democrats say state workers agreed to make larger pension payments as part of the pension reform package that passed during Christie's first term, and in return, the state promised to make its full pension payments. Greenwald said failing to do that would be "a break of the public trust."