Like many of his Republican colleagues, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has aggressively cut social services for the most vulnerable in his state while prioritizing a reduced tax burden for the most fortunate. Christie vetoed a bill last May that would have raised taxes on any income over $1 million to 10.75 percent, increasing revenue that was needed to plug the country’s second largest budget gap.
The measure would have affected just 16,000 of the state’s nearly 9 million residents, while Christie’s cuts to education, public safety, and health services have affected millions. Now, state Democrats are re-introducing the surtax, even though it has little hope of passing, as Christie has already said he would veto it:
The way state Sen. Ray Lesniak and several other Democrats see it, public employees are about to dig deeper into their pockets to bail out New Jersey’s fragile economy, and they want millionaires do the same.
But with Gov. Chris Christie vowing to veto any tax increase. … The Democrats said the additional revenue could be used for a variety of purposes, like increasing school financing for rural and suburban school districts, property tax rebates for the elderly and increased aid to police departments that had to lay off officers.
Chrisite claims he has a mandate from voters to impose this Tea Party agenda on the generally blue state of New Jersey, fighting high-profile wars with teachers, reporters, and even his own constituents who opposed him.
But a new Bloomberg Poll suggests Christie has greatly overplayed his hand. More than half of New Jersey residents now say they wouldn’t support a second term for the governor, and majorities disagreed with Christie on nearly every major issue he has pushed. On the millionaire surtax, a strong majority — 58 percent — of New Jersey residents said they disagreed with his veto.
Meanwhile, 65 percent opposed his education spending cuts. Overall, 68 percent said they think Christie stands with the business community over “ordinary New Jerseyans.”
Christie has claimed the surtax would force “job creators” to flee the state, even though a study from Princeton found this not to be true. “Christie wants us to believe that lower taxes on the very wealthy create jobs,” the Newark Star-Ledger wrote Sunday in an editorial calling for restoring many of Christie’s cuts. “There is no evidence to support that, but the dogma lives.”