MEMO: Chris Christie’s Terrible Economic Record

Tonight, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will deliver his State of the State address. We hope he uses this chance to come clean about his serious money problems: his credit has been downgraded eight times. He hasn’t saved enough for retirement. And his security detail is costing him 18 times what it did 5 years ago.

Why should he talk about his money problems during the State of the State? Because they have nothing to do with his bank account – we’re talking about New Jersey taxpayers’ money here.

Since Chris Christie took office in 2010, he’s been playing fast and loose with taxpayer money. He has mismanaged the budget, resulting in New Jersey’s credit has been downgraded eight times – no New Jersey governor had ever presided over that many downgrades. He’s spending 18 times more on his personal security today than when he took office, for a total of almost $1 million, or nearly $33,000 per month. He’s cut $2.4 billion in pension payments he promised to make because his budget projections were wrong.

And the list goes on…

Read more after the jump.

MEMO: Scott Walker’s Mess

Scott Walker is set to give his State of the State address tonight, and the truth is, he doesn’t have much good news to report. Walker rode into Madison in 2010 dead-set on giving the state a massive Tea Party makeover. And he did.

Walker’s vision for economic growth in Wisconsin consisted largely of massive tax cuts for the wealthy and the privatization of state’s economic development program. To pull off his tax overhaul, Walker, implemented the largest education cuts in state history. But even that wasn’t enough — now the state faces an astonishing $2.2 billion budget shortfall. And just in case you questioned his ideological rigidity, Walker insists that slashing property taxes remains his number one priority this year. So what programs will he cut next to try to solve his colossal budget problem? That remains a mystery.

As for his privatized economic development agency, well that hasn’t gone much better. WEDC has been wrought with controversy, giving Wisconsin taxpayer dollars to companies that ship jobs overseas, and tearing through executives. Moreover, Walker didn’t even come close to delivering on his promise to create 250,000 jobs in his first term, and Wisconsin continues to lag behind other states in the midwest and across the country when it comes to employment growth.

Read more after the jump.

Shot/Chaser: Chris Christie Puts Politics Before Governing

Chris Christie may be governor of New Jersey, but governing New Jersey doesn’t always seem to be his priority. No, the scandal-tainted Governor seems more interested in running for president and attempting to play political kingmaker. Just ask him!

In North Carolina yesterday Christie made quite the admission, proclaiming that he spends the majority of his time campaigning for candidates around the country. Meanwhile, back home in the Garden State, he’s breaking records — and not the good kind. Even Fox News ripped Chris Christie’s pathetic economic record after New Jersey’s credit was downgraded yet again last week, the eighth time that’s happened since he took office.

Enjoy the juxtaposition of Christie’s priorities for yourself:

SHOT: Christie — “I spend most of my time, almost all of my time, campaigning for gubernatorial candidates.”

CHASER: Fox News — “The New Jersey Governor just got handed his EIGHTH credit downgrade. That is a record in the Garden State.” […]

Read more after the jump.

New Web Ad: Scott Walker’s Ditch

American Bridge is releasing a new web ad today highlighting Scott Walker’s failed economic record.

The governor was once considered a frontrunner for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, and his reelect was supposed to be a walk through the park en route to bigger and better things. Nobody is looking past November now, with Walker locked in the political fight of his life, and desperately trying to create the narrative that he’s led a triumphant comeback in the Badger State.

But that story is undermined by reality. The truth is that Walker rammed through an extreme overhaul of the budget that slashed education funding, attacked public employees, and gave massive tax cuts to the wealthy, all under the promise of job creation and balancing budgets. Well Wisconsin is last in the midwest in job growth and facing a $2 billion budget shortfall.

Scott Walker claims he’s pulling Wisconsin out of a ditch. But […]

Read more after the jump.

Scott Walker, Where Are The Jobs? (They’re In Other States)

Scott Walker isn’t just failing to fulfill his own job creation promise–he’s failing to keep up with surrounding states. A new report shows that Wisconsin has created about 45,000 fewer jobs than would have been expected if the state kept up with historical trends.

Moreover, the analysis shows that by December of 2010, towards the end of the Doyle administration, Wisconsin had regained a higher percentage of jobs lost in the recession than any other state included in the study. But by September of 2013, after three years under Gov. Walker and his hyper-conservative policies, Wisconsin had recovered a fewer percentage of its jobs than Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa and Indiana. The state’s job gap doubled in Walker’s first year, and increased again in his second year.

This report is more than just a confirmation that Scott Walker’s agenda has been bad for Wisconsin. It’s a real-world indictment of the very policies that the Republican Party constantly champions. We’ve been told time and time again that if only we slashed taxes and shrank government, the free market would bring prosperity to all. But this austere path has only stifled once-booming job growth in Wisconsin, and the state is set to spend $559 million more than it takes in next year.

Walker’s conservatism has long been the toast of the GOP. Chris Christie praised his reforms for making Wisconsin “a better place to live and work.” Grover Norquist declared that “his success in Wisconsin will change America.” And AFP president, Tim Phillips lauded his agenda as “the new model for the country.”

Well, the results are in. The model has failed. And America is not soon to follow in Walker’s footsteps.

Read more after the jump.

Downgraded: Christie’s Record on the Economy

New Jersey’s economy has hit a major traffic jam under Christie’s leadership, and this afternoon the scandal-tainted governor will attempt to save face in the face of this year’s $800M budget shortfall. One major credit rating agency after the next has downgraded New Jersey’s debt, with Moody’s becoming the latest just last week. Add to that a state unemployment rate well above the national average and a record of private job growth that ranks near the bottom in the country since he took office, and Garden State taxpayers aren’t just stuck with Christie’s self-exoneration bills–they’re stuck with his sluggish economy too.

Watch American Bridge’s new video above and see how bad things have gotten in New Jersey under Christie.

Read more after the jump.

Rick Scott Dodges Minimum Wage Question (Again)

Billionaire Florida Gov. Rick Scott once again dodged a question on whether he supports raising the minimum wage at a press conference in Tallahassee yesterday. Scott previously walked away when asked the same question in August of last year.

In the run up to this year’s hotly contested election, Scott has also refused to make clear where he stands on expanding Medicaid under the federal health care law to help thousands of Floridians access care. Billionaire Scott must not understand how critical these policies are to helping middle and working class Floridians achieve a better quality of life.

Why won’t Rick Scott say where he stands on the issues that matter most to hardworking Florida families?

Read more after the jump.

Cuccinelli clings to Tea Party extremism in final debate

At tonight’s debate, Ken Cuccinelli returned to his roots by embracing the extreme agenda of the Tea Party at every turn.
Virginians are seeking a mainstream leader to boost the Commonwealth’s economy and create jobs, so it’s no surprise that voters are rejecting a candidate who made a name for himself by waging unpopular fights to further his extreme agenda.

After three debates, voters know who Cuccinelli is and what he stands for:

When you stack up that extreme record next to the mainstream, bipartisan approach of Terry McAuliffe, it’s easy to see why Virginians are rejecting Ken Cuccinelli.

Read more after the jump.

Mitt Romney Makes the Case for Obama (feat. Siri)

We preempted today’s jobs numbers with footage of Romney making the economic case for reelecting President Obama… with a little help from Siri. It uses a clip of Romney saying Americans know it’s “poppycock” to the president (Bush) for the state of the economy in 2004 and another showing Romney making the argument that people should look at the overall job trend rather than the “net-net” jobs created on his watch in 2006.

It ends with Romney saying in 2004: “The people of America have to ask do you want to stay with a president who is rebuilding the economy, who is creating jobs, or do you want to stop midstream and find someone new?” The footage of Romney, which we released earlier this year, was recovered from the Massachusetts archive by American Bridge researchers.

Read more after the jump.

Mitt Romney’s Five-Point Plan

Energy Independence

Romney’s Five Point Plan Included North American Energy Independence. According to The Los Angeles Times, “Achieve North American energy independence by increasing access to domestic fossil fuels, streamlining regulations and the permitting process, drilling offshore and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and approving the Keystone oil pipeline from Canada. ‘No. 1, we’re going to take advantage of our energy, and that’s going to create millions of jobs.’” [The Los Angeles Times, 9/15/12]

Romney Supports Ideas Similar To President Obama

Romney And Obama Had Similar Energy Plans Favoring Expanding Drilling And Natural Gas Development. According to The Washington Post, “Here are some of the highlights of the energy positions of Mitt Romney and President Obama. There are similarities. Both candidates favor expanded oil and gas drilling and support the development of natural gas resources, even with the use of controversial hydraulic fracturing techniques. Obama says he favors an ‘all of the above’ strategy and wants to further reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil. Romney says he would aim for ‘North American energy independence,’ leaning heavily on increased imports from Canada and higher U.S. output.” [The Washington Post, 9/11/12]

Romney Supports Ideas Benefitting Wealthy Oil Companies

Central Part Of Romney’s Energy Plan Is Deregulating Oil And Gas Industry. According to Huffington Post, “A central part of the plan is taking the power to permit and license new onshore drilling on federal lands out of the hands of the federal government and putting it into the hands of the states. That means that states like Alaska or North Dakota, which is enjoying a massive oil boom under the current regulatory regime, would be able to allow drilling on federal lands with no oversight from Washington. North Dakota stands out, in particular, as it is where Romney’s top energy adviser, oil billionaire Harold Hamm, is making his fortune. Hamm, whose stump speech is only three words, ‘Beat Barack Obama,’ has given $985,000 to Restore Our Future and raised money for the Romney campaign. He would profit greatly from this change in policy as his company, Continental Resources, would be freed to drill beyond the Bakken fields in North Dakota using techniques including hydraulic fracking and horizontal drilling.” [Huffington Post, 8/24/12]

Improve Education

Romney’s Five Point Plan Included Improving Education Through School Choice And Changing Teacher Hiring. According to The Los Angeles Times, “Improve education and job training, in part by increasing school choice and changing the way teachers are hired and evaluated. ‘We’ve got fix our schools…. It’s time for us to put the kids and the parents and the teachers first, and the teachers union behind.’” [The Los Angeles Times, 9/15/12]

Romney Deferred Education Funds To States For Private School Vouchers

Romney’s Education Policy Gave Federal Funds To States But Did Not Force Or Encourage Them To Expand School Choice. According to a Time op-ed, “Romney and other Republicans know they’re using a great talking point when they complain that the President is against allowing poor kids in Washington’s beleaguered public schools to attend better schools, especially when Obama’s own kids attend a highly-regarded private school in the city. But as policy, Romney’s blueprint is pretty weak soup because it doesn’t force — or even do much to encourage — states to expand choice. It merely says that federal dollars will defer to states and cities that decide to allow private-school vouchers.” [Time, Op-Ed, 6/14/12]

Romney’s Education Policy Was Similar To “Pro-Voucher” Report From The Hoover Institution. According to The New York Times, “Mr. Romney’s policy seems closely inspired by a pro-voucher report issued in February by the conservative Hoover Institution. Five of eight members of a task force that produced the report are among the 19 education advisers the Romney campaign named last month. Once thought to be moribund, the voucher movement was revived by gains Republicans made in the 2010 midterm elections. Fourteen states since then have introduced or expanded private school vouchers, according to the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.” [The New York Times, 6/11/12]

Romney’s Open-Enrollment Mandate For School Districts Were More Burdensome Than No Child Left Behind

Romney’s Open-Enrollment Requirement Had “Massive” Loophole Because Transfer Student Capacity Could Not Be Easily Verified. According to a Time op-ed, “There’s a massive loophole that lets everyone off the hook. The one tantalizing part of Romney’s proposal is his requirement for states to adopt open-enrollment policies that disregard school-district boundaries for public schools. That would be a big deal for poor parents. Open enrollment in theory would give inner-city kids and other kids stuck with lousy school options the chance to attend better public schools elsewhere. But there are two problems. First, as my former colleague, Erin Dillon, showed in a 2008 Education Sector analysis, there are just not enough good schools within a reasonable distance for these kids to commute to. Romney’s proposal also leaves a loophole wide enough to render the open-enrollment provision meaningless because it hinges on schools having sufficient ‘capacity’ to accept transfer students. That’s the same hazard that doomed No Child Left Behind’s public-school choice provisions. Don’t want students transferring in? Then make sure you have no capacity, a metric that is difficult to verify.” [Time, Op-Ed, 6/14/12]

Romney’s Open-Enrollment Policy Would Require A “More Invasive Mandate” On States Than No Child Left Behind. According to a Time op-ed, “And in case you slept through the last several years, Republicans are against heavy-handed federal intervention in schools right now. They want to scrap the 10-year-old No Child law, which merely required states to come up with school accountability systems. It’s politically inconceivable that a President Romney would replace that law with a much more invasive mandate on states to essentially scrap school district boundaries and have a federal hand in deciding which students get to attend which schools.” [Time, Op-Ed, 6/14/12]

Read the full report after the jump.

Read more after the jump.