When New Jersey's Gov. Chris Christie disowned "Snooki" and the reality series "Jersey Shore" on the Today Show he created a new controversy for that beleaguered state. Christie says they're not only a negative for his state, they're "New Yorkers" on top of that.
The point he was trying to make is that New Jersey has enough problems. They're in dire economic straights with an $11 billion dollar deficit on a $29 billion dollar budget. So Christie is going after sacred ground -- the teachers, unions, the cops. Calling on teachers for example to take a pay freeze for a year and perhaps pay for some of their own health benefits.
Until now, California's pretty much been getting all the attention, the talk and tweets for being the #fail state. But it sounds like New Jersey could have it worse.
"Even in the depths of our budget crisis, we didn't have the worse budget crisis" in the country, says professor Thad Kousser of UC San Diego's political science department .
Kousser who specializes in state politics, points out California cut so deep this year and it was painful.
"There were layoffs, California prison guards took massive cuts, state workers took 15-percent pay cuts with furloughs. We have one of the smallest state work forces per capita. Even if you fired every state worker, that would not have solved California's budget crisis."
The answer or at least a start to solving the problem is for California to pass a budget. Right now the deadlock is all about "budget contests and staring matches," as Kousser observes.
The problem could boil down to the structure of how California's system works. We are only one of three states in the country to require a 2/3 majority vote to get the budget passed. Voters can fix that by changing the system.
Proposition 25 is on the November ballot. It would allow a budget to be passed with a simple majority instead. Perhaps California can follow the lead of other states this time.
Meantime, as for Snookie and the gang, they obviously live in a different world. They demanded and received a major salary boost.