New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie proposed cutting the state’s top income rate by one third as he forces municipalities and schools to come up with larger contributions for public employee pensions and slashes state aid to those same jurisdiction, both prescriptions for higher property taxes.
New Jersey homeowners are already feeling the pinch, as property taxes have increased from 14 to 46 percent in cities and towns, but while Christie prompted those tax hikes voters are sure to lay blame on city halls instead of the statehouse.
Due to such irresponsible fiscal policies and his bombastic style, Christie is enjoying a political skyride among tea baggers but he’s creating a bigger mess for some successor to clean up.
Incredibly, Christie turned down or lost $3½ billion in federal funds that would have created or kept thousands of good middle class jobs.
First, Christie changed an application for federal school aid to back out of a deal that had been reached with teachers, and consequently errors on the new grant application made the state ineligible for $400 million it would have otherwise received.
Then the GOP governor killed a transit tunnel under the Hudson River that was already under construction, throwing away $3 billion in federal funds.
By turning down federal funding, Christie joins secessionist Gov. Rick Perry and a handful of other Southern Republican leaders who rejected stimulus money intended to put unemployed Americans back to work.
While such tactics might impress conservative tea baggers, many other New Jerseyans would be highly motivated to rein in property taxes, which Christie raised four times since taking office in January.
Christie vetoed a millionaire’s tax, extending a surcharge on taxpayers earning over $1 million that lapsed in the waning days of the Corzine administration.
Lawmakers wanted to use millionaire’s tax revenue to restore $619 million in cuts to property tax rebates and pharmaceutical assistance for seniors and the disabled.
Middle-class taxpayers facing job losses, home foreclosures, property tax hikes and other economic ills are paying a steep price but Christie could land in the White House.
In a Virginia Tea Party convention straw poll last week, Christie beat Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich as the top choice for the 2012 Republican nomination for President.
Christie says he’s not running but he wants to chop one-third off the tax bill of New Jersey’s richest.
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