Christie faced off with the legislature about this measure, and corralled enough Democrats to vote for the measure out of fear of a government shutdown. This was a hard-fought battle, but it looks like Christie got his way. Christie's victory in this battle is a sign of political resolve and toughness: he didn't blink.
Now comes the time of waiting. If this budget is not successful or if Garden Staters find these cuts too painful, the weight of failure will fall squarely upon Christie's shoulders. He fought for this and made it the centerpiece of his agenda; if it fails, his administration may fail. If it succeeds, he could very easily find himself an icon for Republicans across the nation.
But more rides on this budget than Chris Christie's political future. Conservatives have taken to speaking of the need for austerity budgets to restore the nation's finances. New Jersey offers a testing ground for this policy prescription. If this budget can shore up the financial state of New Jersey and if the public find its budgetary pain bearable, New Jersey would provide one model for fiscal reform. Its failure would engender considerable doubts about the feasibility and future of austerity budgets.