The grumbling has abated a bit with the passage of a budget, but senior Republicans are not happy with Chris Christie's actions on the latest spending plan, according to a longtime Trenton hand.
"I can tell you that Republican discontent (and) disillusionment is as high as I've ever seen it," said the source, who is close with Republican leaders in Trenton and at the county level.
"The borrowing from the Transportation Trust Fund to pay for current spending just blew traditional fiscal conservatives' minds. One of the key things this governor had was candor and honesty, and in that one move, he was going back on his word and using a (Christie) Whitman-like scheme."
Some Republicans also are reportedly upset with the size of the $32 billion budget when they had expected a spending plan closer to $28 billion. They are also mystified as to why Christie did a smaller dollar amount in conditional vetoes for the 2012-13 budget than he did last year.
"He just does whatever he wants in pursuit of his own goals, regardless of whether they are consistent with the agenda he came in with or are best for the state," said the source, who noted the disillusioned GOPers believe Christie is playing to a Tampa audience.
But a Republican insider dismissed the criticism: "What is the GOPer disillusioned with, a tax cut or $300 million in spending cuts? Sounds like a local pol disappointed his pet project didn't get approved."
Still, Christie remains a Republican rock star in blue state New Jersey to those in the GOP upset with the budget he signed.
"They are petrified that the governor is looking to leave (if Mitt Romney is elected) or not run again, which they believe will leave the party in disarray," the first source said. "So they hate what he's becoming, but are panic-stricken by the thought of him leaving."
Lips pursed on track subsidy
The state's horse racing industry is already trying to nurse itself back to health, but Christie's refusal to allow purse subsidies may be adding insult to injury for some stakeholders, who thought they could count on the funds.
Christie last month vetoed $10 million in subsidies approved by the state Racing Commission, marking the second year in a row that he made such a move. But "some people felt betrayed" by the vetoes, a source said, because they go against a deal that they say Christie made with Democratic lawmakers and horse racing interests.
The source told Grapevine that Christie made the deal to ensure passage of S-11, which created a tourism district in Atlantic City and overhauled regulations for the casino industry. The bill, which was enacted early last year, provided for $30 million in purse subsidies over three years, but Christie has now blocked the funding for two years.
"He got what he wanted," the source said. "The industry felt that they would also get what they were promised, but it just didn't happen. So there were people that feel that was wrong."
Christie's office did not return an e-mail seeking comment.
West State Street
State Street is known as the A-list address for lobbyists. So what's at 2000 Technology Parkway in Mechanicsburg, Pa.? One of the top 25 New Jersey lobbying firms, based on 2011 revenue.
The NJBIZ annual ranking published July 2 listed Delta Development Group Inc. with that address at No. 24 on the list. If you go to Delta's website and try to view "projects by state," Pennsylvania is the only option. The website also lists an office in Pittsburgh, but none in New Jersey. The firm does list the New Jersey Hospital Association as an affiliate.
Delta was hired to help the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness "increase its knowledge and understanding of the requirements of people with special needs before, during, and after an emergency," according to the website.
NJBIZ has reported that Delta Development served as one of the two consultants on the report commissioned by the New Jersey Department of Treasury that led to the end of UEZ funding. The firm also served clients interested in the economic redevelopment and growth, or ERG, grant program.
Maybe Tracye McDaniel and Choose New Jersey need to entice Delta Development to move to the Garden State.
Grapevine reports on the behind-the-scenes buzz in the business community. Contact Editor Sharon Waters at email@example.com.