From the Star Ledger:
A remarkable thing happened in Trenton last week: Democrats outmaneuvered Gov. Chris Christie for the first time ever, effectively killing his crazy plan to cut taxes.
And then another remarkable thing happened: The most voluble and entertaining governor in world history was at a loss for words. It was another first, as if he had been whapped in the head and stunned into silence.
If you didn’t realize that the tax cut was dead, you can be forgiven. No one is saying that.
But the dance steps are painted on the floor now. You only need to follow the sequence to see where it all ends.
Democrats, in the first move, agreed to put enough money into next year’s budget to cover the costs of a tax cut. How can Christie veto that?
The trick is that a tax cut requires a separate bill that spells out the lower rates. And Democrats said they won’t consider that until December, and only if Christie’s magical predictions about an economic boom prove true.
“We’re not denying him his tax cut,” says Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen), chairman of the budget committee. “But it’s like with a kid. We’re putting the cookies on the table and saying, ‘Be good and you can have it later.’ ”
Which brings us to the meat of this issue: Can New Jersey really afford a tax cut?
And this is where the debate in Trenton veers into the absurd. Because no one wants to face the fiscal tsunami that is screaming toward the state and will hit in the next few years.
The charts on this page tell the sad story in hard numbers. Over and over, and with both parties to blame, Trenton has pushed big costs into the future. Huge increases are now baked into budgets over the next several years.