As Deadline Looms, Chris Christie Discusses the State Budget on Ask the Governor
All eyes are on Governor Christie, after the democratically controlled state Legislature sent him a 31-point-7 billion dollar state budget earlier this week.
There's been growing speculation the Governor will line-item veto much, if not all of the Democrats' proposed spending additions - but he's got to act quickly, because a new state budget must be signed by June 30th to avoid a government shutdown.
When the Governor received the proposed state spending plan on Monday - which does not include the guaranteed tax cut he's been demanding since February - Christie was fuming, and blasted what he calls the "Corzine Democrats" for changing course.
At that time he said with their budget, they "sent a loud and clear signal that they want to go back to the eight years prior to my administration when taxes and fees were raised every 25 days. After two years without raising taxes, the only way to feed the Corzine Democrats' obsession is to hold tax relief hostage - I will not allow New Jersey to go back to the same failed policies that nearly put our state over a fiscal cliff. Tax relief for our hardworking families is long overdue and that is exactly what I will continue fighting for."
During Townsquare Media's Ask The Governor program this evening, when Christie was asked what he'll do about the budget, and whether he'll order legislators back into a special session this summer to consider cutting taxes, he said "here's the one thing you should know already about me - I don't tell anybody what I'm doing till I have to - and I'm certainly not telling you. So when I make my decisions about things that I want to do, I'll let everybody know about it - but first things first - we have a (legislative) session to finish tonight- I have a budget to consider between now and Saturday, and what I'm going to do with that budget and then I have a pile of bills that are going to be dropped on my desk this week that I have 45 days to consider - and I'll tell you for sure what I'm going to be doing this summer- it is going to be the Corzine Democrats Holding your tax-cut Hostage tour."
During two town halls this week, Christie said "we're going to be traveling all over this state and we're going to demand that the Corzine Democrats explain to you why they're holding your tax cut hostage - cause that's what they're doing…we're going to ask them - when are you going to release the tax cut? When are you going to give the people some of their money back?"
The Governor contends a tax cut is crucial to keep the Jersey Comeback going, and help generate economic development.
Christie has also lashed out at the Chairman of the state Senate Budget Committee, Paul Sarlo, describing him as "an arrogant SOB."
Sarlo's response has been measured.
"This is a smart, responsible budget that reflects economic conditions" he said, it doesn't achieve all that we would want, but it accomplishes what we can afford. It meets the state's most important needs and it advances Democratic priorities without putting the state at risk of an economic crisis during the year ahead."
The proposed budget delivered to the Governor sets aside 183 million dollars for a to-be-determined tax cut - that will only be enacted in January if state revenues match estimates put forth by the Governor.