In his 2015 State of State Address, Governor Chris Christie (R-N.J.) reiterated his strong opposition to tax hikes in New Jersey. Since taking office 5 years ago, Democrats have passed income and business tax hikes that Gov. Christie has vetoed five times. Despite the state’s massive overspending problem and bloated pension liabilities, Christie has remained steadfast in rejecting Democrat efforts to raise taxes as a Band-Aid for those issues.
In his Address before the legislature last week, Christie mentioned taxes 22 times. Here are a number of excerpts:
“Now, I know that many of you in this room believe that income tax increases are the way to go. So yes, sometimes we will simply have to disagree.
I have vetoed four income tax increases passed by this body. And make no mistake… I will veto any more income tax increases that come before me.”
He continued, “And I will do it for one simple reason — the higher our taxes are, the fewer people and businesses will come to New Jersey and the more who will consider leaving. Raising taxes is the old Trenton way, and it didn’t work.”
…“We will not win the fight to keep and create good paying jobs for our middle class families in New Jersey unless we lower taxes.”
…“And we know that the policies of lower taxes and less intrusive government have created higher economic growth and better paying jobs for our middle class.”
Governor Chris Christie’s rejection of tax increases forced the legislature to work with him to reform the government in a number of ways. In 2011, Christie signed bipartisan pension reform that reduced costs by more than $120 billion over the next thirty years. Unfortunately, New Jersey’s pension crisis is a long-term problem that is still underfunded by $90 billion. 94 percent of the year-over-year growth of the 2014-2015 budgets went to public employee pensions, health benefits, and debt service payments.
Christie made mention of pensions 10 times in his State of the State Address.
“Now, of all the long-term challenges we face, one of the largest and most immediate is our obligation to provide pension and health benefits for state and local employees.
This is not just a New Jersey problem. This is a national problem.
States across the country are struggling to fund critical programs because pension and health costs are eating up taxpayer dollars.”
Governor Christie is absolutely right. The state’s largest two problems remain a bloated pension system and an uncompetitive tax code that is forcing thousands of families and businesses to flee to other states. In calling on the legislature to work with him to address both, Governor Christie has demonstrated that he understands issues not only important to New Jersey, but to states and localities nationally.