Needy NJ Families Giving Thanks That Corzine Is Still Governor?

Needy families in New Jersey are learning that elections matter. Outgoing Gov. Jon Corzine (D) and his incoming successor, Chris Christie (R) are having their first open policy disagreement since the election this week over how to care for the growing number of hungry families in New Jersey this Thanksgiving.

Corzine says he’s using the final weeks of his term in office to pass an emergency plan to use state funds to fill the pantries of soup kitchens across the state, which have seen a decline in donations during the economic crisis. Christie, who takes office in January, says he’s against any new spending while the state is still “broke.”The story, from the Newark Star-Ledger:

Corzine and Christie made their comments during separate Thanksgiving events at soup kitchens and homeless shelters in northern New Jersey.

“There are obviously a lot of people struggling for nutrition and dealing with hunger,” Corzine said after serving meals at Oasis in downtown Paterson. “It’s a pretty important thing, I think, for all of us to recognize the needs are very large and growing.”

He said Oasis, for example, used to feed 350 and now it’s up to 750, and other food banks are “seeing 50, 60, 70 percent increases in demand.”

Christie’s take, from the paper:

Christie, during a visit to St. Lucy’s Shelter in Jersey City, said he had yet to hear from Corzine about the need for additional spending, but remains reluctant about the idea.

“I want to work with everybody on everything, but the fact of the matter is that we have an enormous fiscal crisis,” Christie said. “We’re broke. And it’s getting worse, not better. So I will work with the governor on things that are of absolute necessity, but this is the attitude that continues to get us in trouble as we go along.”

“There are some good things that government does that we simply cannot afford to do anymore,” Christie said, though he stressed that his administration will “take care of the least fortunate.”