Sometimes Gov. Chris Christie’s comments simply don’t jibe with reality.
Take, for instance, his claim at a transportation conference Wednesday that Democrats are opposed to any tax cuts this year.
As Christie continues pushing for an income tax cut, the Republican governor and Democratic legislators have been battling this week over differing state revenue projections.
The Christie administration is estimating a shortfall of $676 million through the end of the next fiscal year, while David Rosen, the budget and finance officer for the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services, has estimated a shortfall of $1.3 billion.
After blasting Rosen as the "Dr. Kevorkian of the numbers," Christie in a speech Wednesday claimed that Democratic legislators "don't want to cut your taxes under any circumstances."
"This year, when they don’t want to cut your taxes under any circumstances, they have their handmaiden walk over across the street in front of the Assembly Budget Committee today and say...’I was wrong. I was $1.6 billion wrong for this year, but trust me for next year. You’re another $660 billion short for next year.’ Why would anybody with a functioning brain believe this guy?"
Well, PolitiFact New Jersey has a question of its own: Why would anybody with a functioning brain believe Democrats don’t want tax cuts when they released their own tax cut proposals a few months ago?
The debate over their proposals and the governor's has gripped Trenton since Christie’s State of the State address in January, when the governor unveiled his plan for an across-the-board 10 percent cut in the state income tax. Democrats immediately pounced on the proposal for disproportionately benefiting the wealthiest residents.
But in early March, Democrats in the State Senate and the State Assembly each laid out their own tax cut proposals. After pointing out the Senate Democrats’ plan during a town hall meeting in March, Christie offered this promise:
"Looks like we got some place to work here. Here’s the one thing I know for sure: You’re gonna get tax relief in 2012, because we’re now agreeing on cutting taxes in Trenton."
Both Democratic proposals only would benefit households earning up to $250,000 by providing a tax credit based on their property taxes. The tax credits would be applied against their income taxes.
Senate Democrats have proposed a 10 percent tax credit, while Assembly Democrats are pushing what they refer to as a 20 percent credit. According to Assembly Democrats, seniors and the disabled would receive a 25 percent credit. Unlike the Senate plan, the Assembly proposal includes increasing taxes on income exceeding $1 million.
Despite the poor revenue projections, Senate President Stephen Sweeney has stood by the need to provide property tax relief, according to published reports. Citing recent revenue projections, Assembly Democrats have criticized Christie's tax cut proposal, claiming their plan is the better solution.
According to the Associated Press, one Assembly Democratic leader has left open the possibility that there may be no tax cut at all in the upcoming state budget.
In response to our findings, Christie spokesman Kevin Roberts provided this statement:
"Assembly Democrats specifically put forward a tax plan that raises taxes on some people. Theirs can be defined as much as a ‘tax cut’ as by a ‘tax increase.’ You guys are extraordinarily rigid on the use of language so I hope you make that note. Secondly, the Assembly plan is dead on arrival. It has zero chance of becoming law, which they know. Now, since the April revenue figures came out, Democrats have used those figures as an excuse to abandon a tax cut. Their statements indicate as much and we put out a release earlier today highlighting this fact."
In a speech Wednesday, Christie claimed that Democratic legislators this year "don't want to cut your taxes under any circumstances."
That claim is pure nonsense. The main topic in Trenton has been competing tax cut proposals made by Christie and the Democrats. Christie may disagree with them on how to cut taxes, but there’s no doubt that many Democrats are willing to do just that.
For Christie to suggest otherwise is just ridiculous. Pants on Fire!
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