Tuesday, February 19, 2013

9 Ways Chris Christie Isn’t Andrew Cuomo

Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) attempted last week to position himself as a moderate, suggesting to a labor leader that popular New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is his ideological soul mate. “I’m not much different from Andrew Cuomo. I probably agree with him on 98% of the issues,” Christie reportedly claimed. But on a wide variety of key issues, Christie’s far-right record stands in stark contrast to that of his gubernatorial next-door neighbor’s.

Minimum Wage Christie issued a “conditional veto” to the legislature’s minimum wage increase, objecting to the size of the increase ($8.50-per-hour), the speed of implementation, and the fact that it was indexed to inflation, incorrectly asserting that the measure would “jeopardize the economic recovery.” Cuomo proposed in his 2013 State of the State that New York raise its minimum wage to $8.75 per hour.
Millionaire’s Tax Three years in a row, Christie has vetoed an incoming tax increase for the state’s wealthiest citizens, incorrectly asserting that it would lead to a mass exodus of rich people. Instead, he has insisted to massive spending cuts. In 2011, Cuomo signed a deal to raise rates on those earning more than $2 million annually. The measure allowed New York to reduce rates for middle class workers.
Abortion Access Christie opposes a woman’s right to choose. At a 2011 rally opposing the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision, he said eliminating abortion was “an issue whose time has come.” He also cut state funding to Planned Parenthood. The pro-choice Cuomo is pushing a bill to expand a woman’s right to choose in New York, as part of a Women’s Equality Act.
Marriage Equality Christie used his veto power to block marriage equality in New Jersey, saying marriage equality is not about “gay rights.” Instead, he proposed marriage equality should be subject to a harmful and expensive public referendum. Cuomo proposed marriage equality in New York, actively lobbied key legislators to support it, signed the bill into law, and called on every state to follow suit.
Climate Change Though Christie claims to believe climate change is real, he pulled New Jersey out of a regional compact aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Cuomo’s New York, along with Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont, continues to work to cap and reduce CO2 emissions in the power sector.
Gun Violence Prevention Christie opposed New Jersey’s one-gun-a-month limit and has been strongly critical of President Obama’s approach, calling instead for “violence control.” Last month, Cuomo signed sweeping gun violence legislation after Sandy Hook, making him the first governor to do so.
Obamacare Christie vetoed a bill to allow New Jersey to setup a health insurance exchange under Obamacare. Cuomo issued an executive order establishing a New York health insurance exchange after state senate Republicans refused to do so.
School Vouchers Christie has pushed for private school vouchers, which would take public education money and siphon it off to private and parochial schools. Cuomo vetoed a bill in 2011 that would have given school vouchers to special education students.
DREAM Act Christie has opposed offering in-state tuition for undocumented college students whose parents brought them to the United States as children. He said, “I do not believe that, for the people who came here illegally, that we should be subsidizing, with taxpayer money, through in-state tuition, their education.” Cuomo is still considering the idea, but is reportedly close to embracing offering in-state tuition to upstanding undocumented New York students.

With all of these differences, it is no wonder that Christie gave the keynote address at the 2012 Republican National Convention and repeatedly campaigned for GOP nominee Mitt Romney. Cuomo gave a full-throated endorsement of President Barack Obama’s re-election at the 2012 Democratic convention.

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