New Jersey governor wants all tax brackets cut by 10 percent

Tue Jan 17, 2012 6:16pm EST

New Jersey governor Chris Christie introduces Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney during a campaign rally in West Des Moines, Iowa December 30, 2011, ahead of the Iowa Caucus on January 3, 2012.  REUTERS/Rick Wilking

New Jersey governor Chris Christie introduces Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney during a campaign rally in West Des Moines, Iowa December 30, 2011, ahead of the Iowa Caucus on January 3, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Rick Wilking

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(Reuters) - All New Jersey income tax brackets should be cut 10 percent, Governor Chris Christie proposed on Tuesday, saying the state was on the comeback trail due to harsh budget measures taken last year.

The governor, a Republican, in his annual State of the State address also recommended a series of changes in education, including some on teacher tenure and layoff criteria that likely will be opposed by unions.

He also condemned a ruling by the New Jersey's top court on school funding and called for changes in the criminal justice system, including a ban on bail for violent offenders and mandatory drug treatment programs for non-violent drug users instead of jail.

He called on the top state court to "admit" that its decision requiring poor, often urban schools to get increased funding was "a failure" because pupil performance at those schools has not improved.

Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver criticized Christie's income tax cut proposal, , saying a family earning $50,000 a year would only get an $80 break while a family earning $1 million a year would reap a $7,200 tax cut.

"A 10 percent across-the-board income tax cut might make a nice sound bite, but ultimately it benefits the wealthiest far more than low and middle income earners," she said in a statement.

Oliver estimated that Christie's plan would cost the state $1 billion.

Christie, saying that New Jersey competes with neighboring New York and Connecticut for jobs, noted that both states have raised income taxes on the wealthy. New York's top rate is 8.82 percent and Connecticut's highest rate is 6.7 percent, both below New Jersey's current 8.97 percent rate.

The tough-talking Christie, who has thrown his support behind Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney since deciding to not seek the nomination himself, said that under his leadership, New Jersey is no longer "a punch line" in popular culture. The state became a virtual synonym for sleaze and bad taste with the popularity of the television shows such as "The Sopranos" and "The Jersey Shore."

On the education front, Christie proposed stiffer requirements for teacher tenure and proposed that layoffs be determined by teachers' effectiveness rather than by inverse seniority.

"It is unfair to the other 557 school districts and to our state's taxpayers, who spend more per pupil than almost any state in America," he said.

In addressing ways to reduce crime in violence-plagued cities such as Newark, Christie, a former U.S. prosecutor, proposed banning bail for violent offenders, a move that could require a change in state law and possibly the state constitution. Christie said such a ban could give witnesses more confidence that they could testify in court without risking their lives.

He called on the Democratic-led legislature to work with him. The governor, who once inflamed tensions by suggesting that the media should "take a bat" to Democratic state Senator Loretta Weinberg, said that "anger is natural and passion is good."

The governor, who is now considered a possible vice presidential candidate, faulted Washington politicians for not fixing the economy and made it clear where he stood in the national debate over the 1 percent richest and the so-called 99 percent. "The politics of envy have overtaken the imperative of opportunity," he said.

He recommended fully restoring the earned income tax credit to aid the working poor; the credit was cut in 2010.

(Reporting By Joan Gralla; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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Comments (40)
borisjimbo wrote:
How are you going to pay for filling your potholes, then?

Jan 17, 2012 5:53pm EST  --  Report as abuse
CRTontheBeach wrote:
Oliver acts exactly as one would expect a class-warfare baiting liberal. Her straight-line comparison of the amount of money people who earn it could keep (“reap” a tax cut? to her, people being robbed less of the fruits of their labor is somehow “reaping” a benefit) is a clear demonstration of the contempt liberals hold for the average citizen’s intelligence. Using the figures in the article, the $50K family currently pays $800 per year while the $1M family pays $72K (4.5x per dollar earned). Straight class-warfare baiting liberals will say, “Look at the rich person getting all that extra money (their own to start with) and you get almost nothing!” without mentioning that the $1M family still pays 4.5 times more tax on every dollar earned than the $50K family both before and after the proposed tax reduction. Add that to the $1M family will do the same kind of thing with the extra money not being purloined — invest it! Create new jobs! Increase economic activity that creates what? More tax income and a healthier economy. Bravo, Governor Christie! You truly get it and we support you!

Jan 17, 2012 7:54pm EST  --  Report as abuse
PeoplesCube wrote:
Through the GAS TAX you clown just like it always has and for local and minor roads that townships repair, this is funded through property taxes.

Jan 17, 2012 7:56pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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