New Jersey is one of only two states in the nation that has both an estate tax and an inheritance tax and Gov. Chris Christie says that's part of the reason why people are leaving the Garden State.

"No wonder people leave. They can't afford to die here, it's ridiculous," Christie said Wednesday on Townsqure Media's Ask The Governor program on NJ 101.5 program.

At $675,000, New Jersey also has the highest estate tax threshold in the nation. When a caller to Wednesday's show -- Vince from Hamilton -- asked the governor why the threshold is so low, Christie was quick to blame Democrats.

"The Democrats are ripping you off. When you die they wanna take your money," Christie said.

Christie said the Democrats' claim that "only rich people care about the estate tax" isn't true.

"If you listen to people like Vinnie Prieto in the Assembly, he'll tell you that only rich people are concerned about it. Well go see Vince in Hamilton who's a working guy and worked his whole life to pay off his home and put some money away for his retirement like he's responsibly supposed to do, and these guys say this is just for the rich, it's ridiculous," Christie said.

Christie said he is opposed to a Senate bill that would phase out the estate tax over  five-year-period. The governor said five years is just too long to wait.

"It's baloney is what it is," Christie said. "It's why I've said we need to get rid of the estate tax. It's wrong."

Prioeto, the Assembly Speaker, said he doesn’t support a complete elimination of the state’s tax on deceased residents’ estates. At a press conference in Trenton last month, Prieto said New Jersey stands to lose $450 million in revenues if the estate tax is fully phased out, although he has indicated that he may be open to raising the threshold.

Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.

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