Congratulations to Chris Christie, newly-inaugurated governor of the great state of New Jersey. I wish him well. I also wouldn't trade places with him for anything.
In fact, I can think of nine-billion reasons I wouldn't want his job, not-so-coincidentally the approximate dollar amount of the state budget deficit, the elimination of which, I'm guessing, sits at the top of his "to do" list. From his speech Tuesday:
"The era of runaway spending and higher and higher taxes has not worked," he said in prepared remarks. "We have the largest budget deficit per person of any state in the union. We have the highest tax rates in the nation ... Today, a new era of lower taxes and higher growth will begin."
Ah, so easily said, so brutally difficult to execute. Fortunately for him, he's got one thing on his side, as do many governors and mayors across the country at this point in our history: there's no room to run anymore; no more budget gimmicks, no more fee increases here and tiny little sales tax increases there. It's over. Now, there can only be cutting, cutting on a large scale. Many people will hate him for what he has to do. Call it the curse of the elected.
This editorial written the night before Christie took office spells it out pretty clearly:
The governor-elect will face some very difficult choices this spring when he prepares next year's budget. Fed-up taxpayers should remember, as the budget process drags out, that New Jersey needs a major course correction from the free-spending path it has long traveled, and that that course correction means some services will have to go and some people will have to lose their jobs.
It needs to be done and it's exactly what New Jerseyans elected Christie to do.
Doesn't sound like much fun, does it? Good luck, Governor Christie.