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What else could New Jersey use $12 million for?

Throwing common sense and fiscal discipline aside, Gov. Chris Christie today announced he is unnecessarily holding a special election to replace the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg in October rather than including the race on the ballot for New Jersey’s regularly scheduled November elections.

Christie’s willingness to needlessly throw away 12 million in taxpayer dollars for the sole reason of boosting his own reelection campaign tears down the myth of Christie as a bold and principled governor. Today’s decision was not that of a leader, but one of a craven, self-interested politician.

While Christie may not care what it costs, taxpayers surely do. What else could New Jersey do with $12 million? A lot. Here’s a sampling, courtesy of American Bridge:

  • Rebuild 1.3 miles of boardwalk in Asbury Park. [USA Today, 12/5/12]
  • Fund two months of food bank and soup kitchen assistance for areas affected by Hurricane Sandy [Letter to Speaker Boehner From Office of the President, 12/7/2012]
  • Pay for 150% the cost of rebuilding the Belmar City Boardwalk ($8 million) [NPR, 5/26/13]
  • Restore over half of Christie’s cuts to medical services for the elderly (he cut them $21M). [NJ.com,6/29/12]
  • Pay for all of the non-profit grants awarded by the Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund with nearly $1M to spare. [Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund, Viewed 6/4/2013]
  • The entire cost of funding New Jersey’s Family Success Centers. [Christie Announcement Of Family Center Funding, 10/9/12]
  • The cost of funding New Jersey’s Cancer Education and Early Detection Program [Office of the Governor, October, 2012]
  • The cost of increasing local aid grants for improving street, safety and quality of life improvements by 15% (the state has spent $76.2M). [NJ.com, 5/1/13]
  • More than the entire budget of the Skills4Jersey Training Grant Program (it’s $11M). [Notice of Grant Opportunity, Fiscal Year 2013]
  • Brand new high tech fire trucks, police vehicles, ambulance vans, and other emergency management equipment, as recently granted by the federal government to Jersey City. [NJ.com, 6/9/12]
  • Restore the vetoed tax cut for Jersey Shore production, with $11.5M to spare. [NYT, 9/26/11]