On same the day the Office of Legislative Services presented some dismal projections on state revenues, Gov. Chris Christie called the nonpartisan office a "handmaiden" to whichever party is in the majority, in this case, intent on helping Democrats make the case to raise taxes.
"They needed to call in the Dr. Kevorkian of the numbers — David Rosen," Christie said, adding that OLS lacked credibility because Rosen's numbers over the past two years had been off by a combined $1.6 billion.
"Why would anybody with a functioning brain believe this guy?" Christie said. "How often do you have to be wrong to finally be dismissed?"
Christie said last year when the Democrats wanted to increase spending, Rosen had reported a rosier picture of revenues than actually existed, and that this year, when the Democrats do not want to cut taxes, the OLS numbers are reporting a shortfall.
"We won't be more competitive by continuing to have some of the highest tax rates in America," Christie said.
Speaking at the New Jersey Alliance for Action's annual transportation conference in Trenton, Christie asked business and industry leaders to tell the Legislature it needs reauthorize his transportation capital plan to keep the so-called Jersey Comeback on track.
"We need all of you to be advocates for the infrastructure investments that we want to make at the state level to enhance the quality of life in our state and provide the foundation for long term economic growth," Christie said.
Christie said New Jersey had been getting the short end of the stick for years from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, but he pointed to the authority's commitment of $1 billion to the Bayonne Bridge raising, and the Pulaski Skyway rehabilitation — estimated to a be $1.2 billion to $1.5 billion project — as two signs of changes at the bistate agency.
"If we're going to spend all money we're spending over at the World Trade Center site on a New York project, they're going to start spending this kind of money in New Jersey to make sure that New Jerseyans can have access to the Port Authority facilities as well," the governor said.
Presenters at the conference told the estimated 600 attendees that the investments in the regional transportation system, including rail, roads and bridges, adding capacity, effecting repairs and improvements, and enhancing safety are vital to the state's prosperity.
Bill Baroni, deputy executive director of the Port Authority, detailed the work the agency has been doing on the George Washington Bridge, the Harrison PATH station and the World Trade Center transportation project, among others.
Anthony Coscia, a member of Amtrak's board of directors and the former head of the Port Authority, said the Northeast Corridor has a disproportionate impact on the U.S and global economies, and passenger rail — which plays a vital role in the mix of intermodal transportation options — needs to be updated.