Governor Chris Christie says he supports the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and he vows to fully restore it once the Democrat-controlled legislature gives him the tax cut he wants. Christie insists the state can afford the tax cut, but Democrats say they’ll give it the green light only if revenues match the Governor’s targets. Advocates and low-income workers gathered in Trenton today to accuse Christie of playing politics with the livelihood of the state’s poorest residents.

Rob Duffey, Policy and Communications Coordinator for the New Jersey Working Families Alliance. (Photo: Kevin McArdle)

“In 2010 the Governor cut taxes for 50,000 of the wealthiest people in the state while raising taxes on 500,000 working families,” says Rob Duffey, Policy and Communications Coordinator for the New Jersey Working Families Alliance. “Now he’s using their livelihoods as a bargaining chip to push a reckless tax plan and protect his tax cut for millionaires.”

Christie did not cut taxes for millionaires. New Jersey’s so-called Millionaires’ Tax expired before he took office.

Duffey says the tax hike for low and middle-income workers came in the form of a 2010 cut to the state’s EITC. Since 2000 New Jersey has partnered with the federal government to offer a refundable tax credit for low and middle-income workers as an incentive to work and a way to cope with New Jersey’s high cost of living. Christie cut the credit by 20%, which Duffy says meant a tax hike of up to a week’s pay for some low-income families.

“That three hundred dollars a month helped me buy groceries, pay the bills and the rent so that our family could have safety and security,” says Jennifer Rosado, a Lawrenceville mother of two who qualifies for the credit. “What does Governor Christie’s decision to use families like mine as a ploy say about his priorities?”