In his meeting with the Mayors, Christie reaffirmed his committment to "gut COAH" and to reform the culture of DEP, according to the Asbury Park Press.
"We're going to continue to be aggressive in protecting the environment," Christie said, adding that he recognizes the economic importance of a clean environment for the Shore counties. For Barnegat Bay, Christie said he will seek a solution for the issue of cooling water discharge from the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant — although he stopped short of an outright commitment to requiring that cooling towers be built at the 40-year-old reactor.
The Press reports that Christie resisted the Mayors' call to end binding arbitration for police officers.
"I think for folks who can't strike, they need binding arbitration," Christie said. "There may be some tinkering we can do." Christie said he will also talk to rank-and-file police and fire union members, who supported him in his run for the governor's seat.
Asbury Park Press photo
The meeting with business owners, members of the Northern Monmouth Chamber of Commerce, took place at Guttenplan's Frozen Dough Specialist on Route 36 in Middletown, where company President Abe Littenburg gave Christie, Guadagno and Senator Joe Kryillos a tour of the plant.
Bill Saloukas, owner of Broad Waverly Staffing, Red Bank, expressed concerns about the sky rocketing cost of workers compensation insurance and urged Christie and Guadagno to allow for more competition in that market.
Cliff Moore, owner of IHOP franchises in Keyport and Neptune, urged a renewed commitment to tourism promotion and to revitalizing the Route 36 and 35 corridors. Spiro Pappas, owner of the Comfort Inn, Middletown said that more of the revenue generated by the hotel tax should be used for tourism advertising.
The costs of health care, unemployment taxes and abuses and regionalization of municipals governments were among the other concerns expressed by members of the group.
Guadagno said that Christie had charged her with reviewing all state regulations during the first 90 days of their administration. Christie noted that they will be relying on business groups for suggestions for regulatory reform. "We want to impact the regulations that are hurting businesses," he said, "we're not interested in going through an exercise of review and to change regulations are not a problem."
Christie noted that the top income tax rate of 10.75% is set to expire in June and that he would not renew it.