New Jersey Governor Chris Christie delivered the keynote address to the New Jersey State NAACP Convention Saturday afternoon.
He touted some of the criminal justice issues that he’s worked on recently with African-American leaders, but over the course of his tenure as governor, Christie has an abysmal record when it comes to most issues that are important to communities of color.
Under Christie, New Jersey is being left behind as the rest of the nation recovers from the economic crisis. Our state has the nation’s fourth-highest foreclosure rate. A study by Legal Services of New Jersey found that nearly a third of New Jerseyans live in poverty, including 780,000 children; and that black and and Latino New Jerseyans had poverty rates three times higher than white New Jerseyans.
In 2013, New Jersey’s poverty rate increased for the sixth straight year, one of just three states in which the poverty rate rose, and we’re seeing the highest poverty rate in New Jersey in more than 50 years.
The burden of economic hardship is being borne by those least able to afford it. Christie refused to take advantage of an additional $172 million in potential federal funding for SNAP benefits, andvetoed legislation to increase the state’s minimum wage, which disproportionately affect people of color. Voters had to raise the wage via ballot measure, which passed by more than 20 points despite Christie’s opposition.
While Christie has distributed $4 billion in corporate tax incentives and limited property tax increases for individuals earning more than $150,000 annually, lower-income and middle-class families have seen property taxes that are already the highest in the nation increase by 20 percent under Christie. Christie effectively raised taxes on the working poor by cutting the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit. He also slashed a billion in direct state aid to schools, gutting education funding that is so important to the African-American community.