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In speech to business community, Christie says N.J. economy better now than 4 years ago

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Chris Christie addresses a crowd in this file photo.
Chris Christie addresses a crowd in this file photo. - (Aaron Houston / NJBIZ)

In a keynote address Tuesday night at the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce’s annual “Walk to Washington” congressional dinner, Gov. Chris Christie said that undoubtedly, the state’s economic outlook is brighter now than when he first took office.

“Are things better in New Jersey than they were four years ago?” Christie asked. “Of course they are.”

But without bipartisan reform on issues such as the high costs of pension and health benefit payments, that optimism “can be turned around in a blink of an eye,” Christie warned.

Christie has been harping on the need for those reforms since January, when he gave his State of the State address. On Tuesday, Christie again invoked the cautionary tale of Detroit’s bankruptcy as an example of a potential worst-case scenario if the state does not heed the call.

The governor also remarked on the need to renew the now-expired 2 percent interest arbitration cap.

Noting that he would never run for political office again in the state, Christie said his desire to tackle these issues was “not about politics” and rather, an effort to not leave a “mess” around for the next governor.

“So we can ignore it, if you like, but it’s not going away,” Christie said. “And it will impact each and every one of you and your businesses and your employees.”

Christie began his speech by poking fun at CSPAN’s decision to carry it live nationally.

“This must be the quietest political night in America in months,” Christie quipped.

The dinner also featured speeches from U.S. Reps. Rush Holt and Chris Smith.

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Andrew George

Andrew George

Andrew George covers the Statehouse from NJBIZ's Trenton bureau. Born and raised in N.J., Andrew has also spent time as a reporter in D.C., Texas and Pa. His email is andrewg@njbiz.com and he is @AndrGeorge on Twitter.

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