Pro-Christie ad highlights balanced budgets as part of “reform movement”
By Bill Wichert
Published on Friday, May 18th, 2012 at 7:30 a.m.
Imagine you’re stopped at a red light when a police officer approaches your car. You roll down the window and brace for the worst.
You: "Good morning, officer. Did I do something wrong?"
Officer: "Not at all, son. Not at all. I just wanted to congratulate you for stopping at this red light."
You: "Stopping at the red light? But that’s the law, officer."
Officer: "That’s right. Thank you."
It’s unlikely that situation will ever happen to you, but a new ad promoting Gov. Chris Christie’s record does something similar -- it pats the governor on the back for following the law.
That is, the governor has met his constitutional obligation to approve a balanced budget.
The ad released Wednesday represents the fourth video from the 501(c)(4) advocacy group Committee for Our Children’s Future, which kicked off its first ad campaign in September 2011. In each ad, balancing budgets is heralded as part of the "reform movement" led by Christie.
The opening of the latest ad suggests that although people of different political affiliations had "doubts," those fears were eased by the accomplishments of "Governor Chris Christie and Reformers."
The first such achievement mentioned in the ad?
"But they balanced two budgets," says one man, holding up two fingers as the words "Balanced Two Budgets" appear at the bottom of the screen.
Did Christie balance two budgets? Sure he did, but he’s required to do so under the state constitution.
The state Department of the Treasury explains that requirement in its online guide on New Jersey’s budget process.
"According to the New Jersey Constitution, a balanced Budget must be approved as an Appropriations Act and signed by the Governor before July 1," according to the department.
The state constitution specifies how appropriations can’t exceed revenues:
"No general appropriation law or other law appropriating money for any State purpose shall be enacted if the appropriation contained therein, together with all prior appropriations made for the same fiscal period, shall exceed the total amount of revenue on hand and anticipated which will be available to meet such appropriations during such fiscal period, as certified by the Governor."
By balancing the state budget, Christie has been doing his job as required under the state constitution.
So, when a police officer doesn’t thank you for stopping at a red light, don't be surprised.
To comment on this story, go to NJ.com.
Direction, an ad released by the Committee for Our Children’s Future, May 16, 2012
PolitiFact New Jersey, Television ad promotes Chris Christie’s spending cuts, increased education funding, Oct. 6, 2011
PolitiFact New Jersey, Chris Christie’s record touted in video ad by Committee for Our Children’s Future, Jan. 30, 2012
PolitiFact New Jersey, Ad claims Chris Christie "inherited the highest taxes in America and the worst unemployment in the region", Feb. 8, 2012
New Jersey Department of the Treasury, The State Budget Process, accessed May 17, 2012
New Jersey Constitution, accessed May 17, 2012
New Jersey Department of the Treasury, State Financial Policies, accessed May 17, 2012
Researchers: Bill Wichert
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