Following this morning’s Assembly Budget Committee hearing with the Director of the Office of Legislative Services, in the afternoon, the committee heard from the New Jersey State Treasurer and Christie confidante, Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff.
While the morning session was non-confrontational, the presence of about half again more press and observers was probably due to the expectation of discord between the Treasurer and the Democratic committee members. For a while, that was not to be. Only close to the end of the session did the Treasure make some political statements, and to be excoriated for that by the Committee Chairman, Assemblyman Gary Schaer.
Sidamon-Eristoff’s opening statement could have been a list of debate points developed for Governor Christie’s presidential campaign. It painted a rosy picture of New Jersey’s economy and the “accomplishments” of the Christie administration. Of note was one area of “saving” – $140 million dollars in budget reduction for hospital charity care. When asked why, the treasurer noted that this was due to thousands of New Jerseyans now able to get health insurance whereas they could not in prior years. And he did this without once uttering the words “Affordable Care Act” or “Obamacare.”