Think NJ’s expensive? Christie says he’s why it’s not worse (WATCH)
While property taxes remain the biggest complaint for New Jersey residents, Gov. Chris Christie said it would be even worse if he were not in office.
During Wednesday night's "Ask the Governor" on New Jersey 101.5, Christie said local government tax increases were held to the 2 percent property tax increase he spearheaded again this year. The cap limits year-over-year growth, though exemptions can be made for certain types of expenses.
"Two percent of a lot is still a lot," host Eric Scott contended.
The governor agreed on that point, but told listeners property tax rates went up 70 percent in the 10 years prior to him taking office, and that they were held to the promised cap in the five cycles under his watch.
"We've not exceeded the average of 2 percent," Christie said.
He said that number would be at 0 with other reforms he wants to put in his place, but that were were shot down by the Democrat-controlled Legislature.
The governor vehemently disagreed with a listener's comment in New Jersey 101.5's online live chat (seen below) that the state is becoming more expensive to live in.
"We had 115 tax and fee increases in the eight years before I became governor," Christie said. "You've had no tax increases since I've been governor at the state level."
Christie defended his record by saying he has vetoed more tax increases than any governor in modern American history.
"I understand there's frustration about the fact that we haven't cut taxes. Well, then give me a Republican Assembly this fall. We'll pass tax cuts and see what the Democratic Senate does with it."
Senate President Steve Sweeney offered the following response later Wednesday night:
"It's great to hear Governor Christie celebrating Democratically led initiatives like lowering the state's unemployment insurance costs and installing a 2 percent property tax cap. Both were ideas passed by a Democratic legislature that I sponsored.
"Seeing as how he's such a fan, here's a few more he can support: increasing voter participation with the Democracy Act, helping stabilize tax revenues for Atlantic City and pushing full speed ahead for a new Hudson River train tunnel and Port Authority bus station."