Governor Chris Christie told a group of business leaders that Democrats in the Legislature may jeopardize New Jersey’s economic recovery by putting social issues ahead of job-creation and tax cuts.
“They want to play around with social issues to try and make people look bad,” Christie said. “Here’s what the public is going to care about: Are they working? Are they working in a job that pays well and provides their family with health insurance?”
Christie’s remarks echoed his Jan. 17 State of the State speech to the Legislature and a subsequent series of public meetings in which he pressed his case for hastening what he calls “the Jersey comeback” by cutting taxes. The Washington- based Tax Foundation yesterday ranked New Jersey last among U.S. states in terms of business climate.
Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald, a Cherry Hill Democrat, said his party is weighing “a couple of ideas” to lower pressure from New Jersey’s highest-in-the-nation property taxes. He declined to give specifics following Christie’s speech, while saying any relief would be both immediate and long-term.
Christie took office in 2010 pledging to cut taxes as the state’s economic conditions improved. He said his proposed reduction would spur the state’s economy, which he added should be the top issue in Trenton.
“Do they care about the stuff we’ve been talking about for the past week?” Christie said, referring to state residents. “What they care about is whether their husband or wife will have a job, will they have money to put food on the table?”
The governor has so far declined to say how he’d make up for the revenue if taxes are cut. Democrats have said a 10 percent rollback may mean as much as a $1.1 billion decline in state receipts.
“People care about civil rights, and they also care about the middle-class property tax relief and job creation plans this governor vetoed as he zealously protects and advocates for tax cuts for the rich,” Tom Hester, a spokesman for Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, said last night. “His priorities are so out of step with working class New Jersey.”
Oliver, a Democrat from East Orange, has said that an analysis by her office showed a family with a $50,000 annual income would pay $80 less in taxes under Christie’s plan, while someone earning $1 million would save $7,200.