Chris Christie Says NJ Can’t Afford Not to Cut Taxes [AUDIO]
The constitutional deadline for a signed and balanced State Budget is midnight June 30th, less than four weeks from today. Sagging state revenues have many wondering if any of the three competing tax cut plans afloat in Trenton are going to go under. Governor Chris Christie insists there will be a tax cut.
Two weeks ago, Dr. David Rosen with the Office of Legislative Services (OLS) estimated that over the next 14 months state revenues will lag $1.3 billion behind Christie's projections. Christie expects the budget gap to be about $676 million.
Christie proposes a 10% income tax cut for every New Jerseyan. Democrats say that plan disproportionately favors the wealthy and they have different, competing ideas. Senate President Steve Sweeney is calling for a 10-percent property tax cut for the middle class. Democratic Leaders in the Assembly want a 20% property tax cut for the middle class, but Christie vows to veto the millionaires tax hike needed to help fund the plan.
Asked if the State can afford to support any tax cut, the Governor says it can. Christie says, "I'm not questioning slowing it, scaling it back or not doing it at all. I think we have no choice but to do it."
At his frequent town hall meetings Christie boasts of a "Jersey Comeback." He insists it is real and says, "I'm not going to allow the continued onerous tax policy that goes on in this state to put a damper on that."
Christie and Sweeney were ready to announce an agreement on a tax cut several weeks ago, but a planned press conference was scrapped. The official reason was Sweeney had undergone a minor medical procedure, but sources say the announcement was scuttled because members of Sweeney's own caucus weren't happy with the deal.
In his testimony before the Assembly Budget Committee, State Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff defended Christie's income tax cut proposal by saying, "In our view, investing in a modest across-the-board income tax cut that will improve New Jersey's long-term economic competitiveness is and ought to be a top policy priority for New Jersey."
Assembly Democratic Leader Lou Greenwald says, "The truth is, there is only one person obstructing real, significant property tax relief for 95 percent of middle-class families and seniors - and that's Governor Christie with his obsession for tax breaks for millionaires."