OPINION: Middle Class Loses To Mega-Rich Under Christie

By Assemblyman Louis D. Greenwald

Democrats approved tripling property tax relief funding and helping the middle class and seniors under the Homestead Benefit Program. Gov. Christie vetoed it.

Democrats approved fully funding suburban and rural schools. Gov. Christie vetoed it.

Democrats approved boosting property tax relief for senior citizens. Gov. Christie vetoed it.

Democrats approved income tax relief for working poor families. Gov. Christie vetoed it.

Democrats approved legislation to help low-income New Jerseyans needing legal services. Gov. Christie vetoed it.

Democrats approved helping women obtain quality health care. Gov. Christie vetoed it.

Gov. Christie’s war on New Jersey’s middle-class marches onward. The governor’s mania to protect tax cuts for the mega-rich over property tax relief for the middle class and senior citizens is appalling. We gave the governor one more chance to help beleaguered homeowners across this state and once again, he failed miserably.

The July 2 speech during a special session of the Legislature was a blatant attempt by the governor to distract from his opposition to middle-class New Jerseyans. The governor has made his choice – he will protect the mega-rich to the detriment of middle class taxpayers.

In his desperation to deliver tax cuts to the wealthy during his audition for the vice presidency, Gov. Christie has put his own political ambitions ahead of New Jersey’s middle class.

As he spouts distortions and slogans, the governor cannot escape the facts: he keeps protecting huge tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires while property taxes in New Jersey just keep rising. Democrats wanted to correct that injustice but Gov. Christie simply wants to prolong it.

Democrats are not about to make the same mistake Republicans made with Gov. Whitman and President George W. Bush by passing tax cuts that cannot be paid for and contribute to economic turmoil.

But what the governor did highlight was his continued opposition to middle class and senior citizen property tax relief, even as he’s overseen a net 20 percent property tax hike. That is not the message New Jerseyans want to hear, especially from a governor breaking his promise to fully restore property tax relief. Support for millionaires and opposition to property tax relief is not what New Jerseyans wanted when they elected Gov. Christie.

Democrats have sent the governor tax relief, and this governor has repeatedly vetoed it. On June 29, he vetoed a plan to increase income tax relief for the working poor. And on July 2, he vetoed a plan to triple property tax relief funding under the state’s existing property tax relief credit program. The plan would have helped middle-class and senior citizens, but the governor would have none of it.

Democrats have agreed to give additional tax relief if the revenues are there, but let’s be clear – Gov. Christie has presided over a 9.2 percent unemployment rate, a gross domestic product that ranks 47th among the states and revenue collections that have consistently come in below projections. An additional 1,000 jobs were lost in June when Roche announced it was leaving the state.

Time and time again Gov. Christie has failed when it comes to tax relief and helping working class residents. Tax relief is not something that should be subject to Gov. Christie’s political theater and misleading statements.

Gov. Christie, enough with the theatrics. Enough with the tax breaks for the uber-rich. Enough with the opposition to middle-class property tax relief.

Democrats have given Gov. Christie numerous chances to prove his tax-cutting worth, and Gov. Christie has failed over and over again. Actions speak louder than words, and his actions prove this governor has overseen a net 20 percent property tax hike while rejecting middle-class property tax relief and vetoing income tax relief for the working poor.

Gov. Christie’s actions prove real middle-class tax relief is not his real priority.

Democrat Louis D. Greenwald is the Assembly Majority Leader and represents the 6th Legislative District in Camden County.

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