Gov. Christie Addresses Republican National Convention (Live at 10:30 p.m.)

Building up to Governor Chris Christie’s keynote speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa tonight, critics in New Jersey attacked the so-called Jersey comeback Christie has touted in recent months, citing the state’s stagnant economic growth and its 9.8 percent unemployment rate.

State Sen. Frank Lautenberg and Assemblyman John Wisniewski, Chairman of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee, held a press conference call this afternoon calling Christie a bully, attacking his tenure in New Jersey, and trying to tie him to a Romney-Ryan economic plan they say would be devastating for American middle class families.

“Governor Christie will tell his fairy tale triumphs,” Lautenberg said. “But don’t let him fool America with his bluster.”

Leaders with the New Jersey Main Street Alliance, a network of more than 1,000 local small business owners across the state, decried the choice of Christie as the keynote speaker and also attacked his economic record.

“Getting people back to work and rebuilding our customer base are at the top of small business owners’ priority list this year, but Governor Christie hasn’t given us any help,” said Anita Thomas, owner of AM Thomas Associates LLC, a consulting firm in Plainfield. “Under his leadership, New Jersey is at the bottom of the list in job creation. Governor Christie’s vision has failed small businesses here in New Jersey.”

Business owners criticized Christie’s veto of the millionaire tax and his promotion of corporate subsidies as a means of economic stimulus, which they said have failed to extend enough help to small businesses in the state.

“A strong middle class customer base is what creates jobs in small businesses — not tax cuts for the super-rich,” said Ed Kedzierski, owner of Creative Photography in Bordentown. “Gov. Christie’s tax policies show how out of touch he is with the realities of running a small business.”

Business owners said that since Christie took office, he has granted more than $1.57 billion in tax credits to large corporations, including a $900 million payday for 15 companies in exchange for 2,364 jobs over the next decade. The price tag per job for taxpayers of the giveaways is $387,537, they claim.

Christie has defended his record, citing the two-percent property tax cap, changes in the public employees pension system and cuts in the state’s budget. He has also said that he has focused on job creation. But Christie said this week that he did not plan to use the phrase “New Jersey Comeback” during his convention speech.

Will Christie be the in-your-face politician New Jersey residents have come to know, or will his rhetoric be toned down tonight? Are you watching or not? We would love to hear your thoughts below.

We will be broadcasting Christie’s speech live on tonight. It is expected to begin at 10:30 p.m. Let us know what you think of the speech by posting your comments below.



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