Who Had the Better Week—Cuomo or Christie?

Friday, March 09, 2012

Both rock stars in their own right, both trying to right their states' ships, and both building serious momentum for a potential presidential run. Every Friday, we'll look at who's week will look better on a résumé come 2016.

Check out last week's scores here.

Chris Christie

Bypassing environmental regulations

Within the GOP, "EPA" is a four-letter word.

So when Chris Christie announced this week that his administration would allow businesses to apply for waivers to New Jersey's environmental regulations, he may have tacked another key conservative selling point to his (potential) 2016 campaign. This is red meat for Republicans, both as it pertains to the environment and the economy.

  • Verdict: +1

Tax revenue up

Mostly good news for Christie this tax season: New Jersey revenues are up 4.3 percent over last year, and with collection totaling $14.3 billion, they're just 1.7 percent below what the state budget planned for.

That's still a shortfall, but Christie points to the trend as justification for his proposed income tax cut. Do we need to explain why this would help Christie with GOP voters?

  • Verdict: +1

And then there's this...

Ah, finally, another patented Chris Christie shouting match with a questioner at a town hall meeting. Feels like it's been forever. And this time, it's with a veteran. Added bonus: Christie calls him an idiot!

"Damn, man," Christie says at the end, "I'm governor, could you just shut up for a second?" Classic.

  • Verdict: 0

→ Christie's Week: +2

    Andrew Cuomo

    Saving state's military installations

    After the U.S. military announced hundreds of layoffs at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, Governor Cuomo commissioned a $500,000 study on the economic impact of military bases in New York. The Governor says military bases are responsible for over 10,000 jobs and provide a $1.9 billion boost to the state. 

    Commissioning the study is a low-risk, likely low-impact way for Cuomo to claim he's fought to protect jobs, grow the economy, and keep military institutions strong. It's also achingly centrist and pragmatic: there's government spending, but it's in the name of defense and economic stability. Tough to see which side of the political spectrum would dislike this move more...but easy to see how the center would embrace it in a general election.

    • Verdict: +1

    Labor trouble, 'Gov. 1%' on the horizon?

    If Cuomo isn't careful in his handling of pension reform, he might end up branded as the Democratic Party's Mitt Romney.

    The Governor has been trying to negotiate changes to the New York pension system that would raise the retirement age and reduce benefits for public employees. New York Daily News reported this week that a last-minute meeting with labor leaders may be a sign that Cuomo will have to give ground on his proposals, perhaps due to a "procedural foulup."

    Nothing's happened yet, so it's too soon to call this a big negative for Cuomo, but the long-term threat to his reputation is clear:

    “The ads are ready to go, showing him as Governor 1%, attacking workers’ pensions like just Wall Street and the business community want him to do,” said one major union leader.

    These are similar to the charges levied against Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. Add to that the fact that higher pension costs have been tied to investment losses in New York City funds, which have also coincided with higher fees paid out to investment firms, and you get a potential attack line against candidate Cuomo in 2016—but this time, it would come from the Left.

    • Verdict: 0

      → Cuomo's Week: +1


      → Final Score: Cuomo 1 — Christie 2


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      Comments [1]

      Patrick Cox from Camden, NJ

      Christie's week--and the "Idiot" scandal--are both worse than what's shown here. He had floated an idea to simply shut down a big part of Rutgers University and give all its assets--from paperclips to professors--to a financially failed teaching school called Rowan in the hopes that someday Rowan might duplicate Rutgers and turn itself into a research university with international stature. Should cost several hundred million tax dollars. He seems to intend to pull this off by executive order.

      This past week:
      1. State Supreme Court overturned a previous executive order and clearly defined the power a much more limited than Christie would like or needs to do what he wants on this issue.
      2. Rowan is under Interim management, searching for a new President. The three finalist in the search all withdrew their interest in taking the reins of that school.
      3. Supporter Sen. Donald Norcross agreed to meet with Rutgers-Camden community members to discuss a Rutgers-Rowan "partnership"--his word--rather than the takeover he had previously supported with Christie.
      4. The idea being called "Christie's least popular idea ever" (22% approval in the polls; in the part of NJ affected it is disapproved of by 71%) and its projections and rationale refuted by economists, Rowan leadership and in-house economists responded this week by...hiring a PR firm.
      5. As mentioned here, a NavySeal remind Christie the portion of Rutgers that would be closed is the only part Rutgers campus that gives college credit to returning vets for their service. And that Rowan is one of the most expensive state school in the country, unaffordable to working class families. Christie called a Navy Seal an idiot.

      Very bad week for Christie. Good one for Rutgers, higher education, and New Jersey! More info here!

      Mar. 11 2012 08:43 AM

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