Not mincing any words, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called state legislators back from their 4th of July vacations and will tell them to pass 10% tax cut on state income taxes in a special session that he will address on Monday.
Christie claims the Democrat’s plan is holding “tax relief hostage” while referring to the Democratic budget committee chairman as “an arrogant SOB.”
“As governor you have two bits of leverage: whatever power or authority in the office you have and the bully pulpit,” Christie said in a June 29 interview in his office. “I’m going to use both of them to try and get that tax cut.”
The budget Christie proposed in February predicted revenue growth of 7.2 percent, the second-most rosy projection after California, according to the National Governors Association. Standard & Poor’s in February called New Jersey’s plan unbalanced and dependent on “optimistic” economic forecasts.State Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff, a Christie appointee, has since said revenue through June 2013 may be $700 million less than Christie’s target, while the Legislature’s chief budget analyst has said the gap may be almost twice that.
Lawmakers typically recess in July and August. New Jersey’s constitution allows governors to bring them back into session “whenever in his opinion the public interest shall require.” While Christie may convene the session, Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, both Democrats, control the agenda, under state law.
Christie, during the Statehouse interview, said he will travel to “every corner of this state” in the coming months to prod Democrats into releasing $183 million set aside in the budget for tax credits.
Christie actually had a deal in place back in May with the senate president that would have given most taxpayers a refund while the poor would have been given a tax credit. But the deal fell through and Democrats decided to substitute their own tax credits that did not address the state income tax issue.
It’s an interesting gambit to interrupt legislators’ 4th of July Jersey Shore holidays by calling them back to work. One would imagine that Democrats are none too pleased with Christie so whether they would be amendable to a compromise on taxes at this point is open to question.