In his State of the State address, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie exaggerated some figures and boasted about progress that doesn’t look so impressive when compared with national trends.
- Christie boasted that New Jersey’s unemployment rate has dropped from 9.7 percent when he took office to 6.4 percent (as of November). But New Jersey was doing slightly better than the national average when he took office, and is now doing slightly worse.
- The governor touted the creation of 150,000 private sector jobs. But New Jersey’s rate of private sector job growth is less than half the national average; in fact New Jersey ranked 49th out of 50 states in private sector job growth.
- Christie crowed about New Jersey being “No. 4 in per capita income.” The state is actually third in per capita personal income, exactly where it was the year before Christie took office. It ranked second for more than two decades before that.
- Christie said that state property taxes “increased more than 70 percent” in the 10 years prior to him becoming governor, and that they’ve increased by “less than 2 percent” in each of the last four. That ignores the impact state rebates have played in lowering the property tax burden before he was governor, and the impact of the rebate cuts he implemented as governor.
- Christie made the misleading claim that “taxes were raised 115 times in the eight years before 2010,” the year he took office. But that list includes fees, not just taxes, and the governor himself proposed 23 fee hikes in the 2015 budget.
Christie is a potential candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, and theNew York Times noted that his annual State of the State speech on Jan. 13 sounded like “a defensive move by a politician anticipating the shots that could be leveled against him.” But Christie spun the numbers to make his case that “New Jersey is better off than it was last year at this time, and it is certainly far better off than it was just five years ago.” …