New Jersey Governor Chris Christie wants to move into the White House in January 2017. However, I doubt he will get that wish – due, in large part, to the housing problems of the residents in his state.
Of course, Christie inherited a housing-related mess when first came into office five years ago. Sadly, he has done very little to improve the situation. In fact, things have gotten worse since he’s been on the scene.
How bad are things in the Garden State? According to the recently released National Movers Study, the state that saw the greatest exodus of residents in 2014 was New Jersey, where 65 percent of all moves were to another state. New Jersey’s ridiculously high property taxes were cited as being a key reason for this sad situation.
But this raises another question: how bad are New Jersey’s property taxes. An investigation conducted last spring by the news site NJ Spotlight found net property taxes for lower and middle-income residents rose more in Christie’s first term than they had under Jon Corzine, his predecessor: a 20.3 percent increase under Christie’s first term versus 14.1 percent under Corzine. This data was publicly available on the state’s Department of Community Affairs website, but Christie’s office had it erased from view after the NJ Spotlight report came out.
And the problem isn’t just with residential property taxes. Mercedes-Benz paid $916,700 in property taxes last year on its 37-acre U.S. headquarters in Montvale, N.J., and that excessive tax bill was a key reason behind the automaker’s decision to pack up and relocate to Georgia. Other major and smaller businesses are also unfairly burdened by this problem.
Even worse is the depressed level of New Jersey housing. Last year, CoreLogic reported that New Jersey recorded the highest percentage of foreclosure among mortgaged homes and the longest amount of time to complete a foreclosure (approximately three years). And last month, RealtyTrac announced that Atlantic City, the state’s ailing gambling resort, had the highest foreclosure rate in the nation among metropolitan markets with a population higher than 200,000.
Things are even worse in regard to affordable housing. The state’s Supreme Court is now weighing in on whether Christie’s administration intentionally refused to adhere to a March 2014 directive from the court to approve revised rules for the N.J. Council on Affordable Housing; Christie initially sought to shut down the council and is now trying to ignore it to death. Justice Barry Albin used his court position to openly question where Christie’s priorities were in this matter, forcefully stating, “How much longer do you want the poor people of this state to wait before they have adequate housing?”
As for the rebuilding of the damaged property relating to the 2012 Superstorm Sandy, forget it – Christie has failed to leverage his photo ops with President Obama into a speedy resolution to this lingering tragedy.
If Christie wants to run for president, he certainly cannot run on his housing record. The man is not, by any definition, a fiscal conservative – if anything, he is a fiscal nitwit. Yeah, it might be funny to see Christie shout down raucous reporters or shake his belly on Jimmy Fallon’s comedy talk show, but there is nothing to laugh about when you consider the mess that Christie has created in his state.
Chris Christie for President? Please, we can do better than that!
About The Author
Phil Hall has been (among other things) a United Nations-based radio journalist, the president of a public relations and marketing agency, a financial magazine editor, the author of six books and a horror movie actor. Also, as you will discover, he is not shy about stating his views.