Chris Christie Calls For Special Session, Asks For Tax Cut [VIDEO/AUDIO]
Yesterday, in a special joint session of the legislature, Governor Chris Christie implored the democrat-controlled legislature to give the "certainty" of a tax cut today.
He said, "We owe it to the people who went out on a limb and trusted us to give them the certainty of tax relief today, not some vague promise of tax relief in the far off future which they fear, rightfully, based on the failures of the past, will never reach their wallets."
Democratic Leaders in the State Senate and General Assembly say the people of New Jersey will get a tax cut in January if revenues hit Christie's targets. To enact the tax cut, $183 million was set aside in the budget the Governor signed Friday.
Christie asks, "What are we waiting for?" He says, "We're better than this. I know we are. I know you know we are……Let's give them a guarantee today; a future in New Jersey that will include three years of taxes falling, not rising."
Democrats did not give Christie what he wants yesterday.
"Now, you sent me a budget this past week that was enacted with only Democratic votes," said Christie. "You refused to negotiate a budget with me. This is your budget. You used my revenue projections to spend on programs throughout the state. If my revenue projections were good enough for your spending, why are they not good enough for the people's tax cut? This makes no sense to me and I can assure you it will make no sense to the taxpayers of New Jersey. You cannot have it both ways."
Christie explained to lawmakers, ""I have used my veto authority on the budget you sent me to create a $650 million surplus. Can't we afford to send just one-third of that surplus back to our citizens and to give them that guarantee today? I say yes. We have the money available to fund a tax cut that gives relief to middle-class New Jerseyans."
The Governor conditionally vetoed the millionaires' tax increase bill passed by the full legislature last week. Christie returned the bill to the legislature with amendments to deliver tax relief for New Jersey families, rather than another tax increase.
The amended legislation will provide New Jersey residents with household incomes up to $400,000 an income tax credit equal to 10 percent of their annual property tax bill for the prior year, up to $1,000 when fully phased in after four years. Net-profits from a trade or business (derived from federal Schedule C income) will not be counted against the household income threshold.
The Governor says, "As I vowed during my candidacy, reaffirmed after my election, and said in vetoing this tax the first two times, I will not allow a job-killing tax increase to be levied on our families and small businesses. Those policies ended with my election and they certainly will not be returning again while I am Governor. This is a moment to put money back in the pockets of the people of our state who need it most - our working and middle-class families - not to take more away from them. I hope the Legislature will delay no further in joining me in this effort."
State Senate President Steve Sweeney says, "This was completely unnecessary because we've already placed in the budget the money for a tax cut. Hopefully the people (reporters) in this room will let the people in this state understand that what the governor is talking about is more theater for the national stage…This is a youtube moment. That's all this was. We provided a responsible budget, spent less than he did (and) put the money in to ensure a tax cut."
"Tax relief is not something that should be subject to political theater and misleading statements, but sadly that's what we saw today," says Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver. "Democrats have responsibly vowed to provide additional tax relief if the revenue is there, but Governor Christie has presided over a 9.2 percent unemployment rate, economic output that ranks 47th out of the 50 states and revenue collections that have consistently come in below projection. Time and time again Governor Christie has failed when it comes to tax relief."
Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick says, "People in New Jersey have been waiting too long for tax relief. Governor Christie is sending a clear message that he will keep his promise to veto any tax hike the Corzine Democrats pass. Taxpayers deserve relief now, not later. We need to shed our reputation as a state that only increases taxes. By standing in the way of delivering a tax cut, Democrats are sending the wrong message to people and the business community."
"Maybe later' cannot improve a small business owner's ability to hire new employees, will not help middle class families pay the bills, and does not improve New Jersey's ability to compete with other states for jobs and economic investment that improves everyone's quality of life," says Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean. "Because the most highly taxed people in America, New Jersey residents and job creators, do not yet have the certainty that relief is coming, the Governor is right to call legislators back to Trenton."