Governor Christie Millionaires’ Tax Veto Courts Conservatives [POLL/AUDIO]
Monday, the full Assembly passed a bill to hike the state income taxes on New Jersey's roughly 16,000 millionaires.
The full Senate is expected to follow suit tomorrow and Governor Chris Christie is still promising to veto the bill for the third consecutive year. One political expert feels Christie will be criticized for blocking property tax relief, but also thinks the Governor has a strong counter-argument that will play very well with national conservatives.
Democrats say the tax increase would generate $789 million for middle class property tax relief to help 95% of New Jersey's residents. The revenue would be dedicated to the Homestead Benefit Program, which pays credits against local property taxes, helping lower a homeowner's property tax bill.
Montclair State University political science professor Dr. Brigid Harrison says after Christie vetoes the bill Democrats will be able to accuse him of blocking middle class property tax relief. She explains, "I think that is very moving message. I think that it is particularly salient among most New Jersey residents who identify property taxes as the key tax that they want to see addressed."
Democrats in the legislature often blast Christie for courting the national conservative base and they talk about not giving the Governor ammunition that he can use on the national stage. With another millionaires' tax increase veto on his resume, Christie could be loaded for bear.
"Governor Christie will get out there and he'll say that he saved New Jersey residents from paying an additional $800 million in taxes," predicts Harrison and she wouldn't be surprised if he never utters the word 'millionaire' when boasting of blocking the tax hike.
Harrison explains, "I think this is part and parcel of how he plays politics. It may be a lie of omission or just kind of leaving out key pertinent information, but for that 30 second sound bite that is playing nationally it doesn't really matter."
"Governor Christie once said cutting property tax rebates was akin to declaring war on the middle class, but upon taking office he callously threw gasoline on the property tax crisis fire by slashing property tax relief," says Assembly Democratic Leader and millionaires' tax hike sponsor, Lou Greenwald. "The Governor's failure to fulfill his promise was to the detriment of New Jerseyans who have been hit with a net 20 percent property tax hike under his watch. This bill gives the Governor the chance to begin living up to his promise and provide substantial and real property tax relief to the middle-class and seniors."