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Bruce Springsteen criticizes New Jersey budget cuts

The Boss, in an open letter to his hometown newspaper, expresses his displeasure at 'cuts in services to those in the most dire conditions.' Springsteen's stance puts him at odds with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

March 31, 2011|By Michael A. Memoli, Washington Bureau
  • Gov. Christie, for his part, has professed nothing but adoration for Springsteen, above.
Gov. Christie, for his part, has professed nothing but adoration for Springsteen,… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

Reporting from Washington — In just 14 months as governor, Chris Christie has become a conservative hero in part because of the delight with which he's taken on some of his harshest critics, particularly the state teachers union.

But with the barbs now coming from the Boss, New Jersey's governor may have finally met his match.

In a letter to his hometown newspaper, legendary rocker and Garden State icon Bruce Springsteen laments its recent report about how the state was slashing programs that help its poorest citizens while sparing more affluent residents from the budget axe.

"The article is one of the few that highlights the contradictions between a policy of large tax cuts, on the one hand, and cuts in services to those in the most dire conditions, on the other," Springsteen writes to the editors of the Asbury Park Press. "The cuts are eating away at the lower edges of the middle class, not just those already classified as in poverty, and are likely to continue to get worse over the next few years."

Springsteen, identified simply as a Colts Neck resident, does not mention Christie by name. But it's clear he isn't happy with the choices his state's governor is making.

Christie proposed 7% to 11% cut to the state's general assistance program. Meanwhile, he vetoed 2010 legislation that would have temporarily raised taxes on those in top income brackets.

Christie, for his part, has professed nothing but adoration for Springsteen. When he was campaigning he told the New York Times he had attended more than 120 concerts in his lifetime. When President Obama came to campaign for then-Gov. Jon Corzine, Christie wished him well and urged him to listen to some "Bruce" as he drove on the Garden State Parkway.

After his victory, Christie tried to get Springsteen to play at his inauguration. He settled for a cover band, after being told the E Street Band didn't want to get involved in state politics.

A new poll released Thursday by New Jersey's Fairleigh Dickinson University showed that Christie outperformed many other national Republicans in head-to-head matchups with Obama in the 2012 presidential race. He still trailed the Democrat nationally, however, and Christie has maintained he will not be a candidate.

michael.memoli@latimes.com

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