Taxpayer Group Urges Democratic Nominee Corzine to Sign Pledge Not to Raise Taxes

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last night, Republican Doug Forrester and Democrat Sen. Jon Corzine won their respective party primaries to run for New Jersey governor. Forrester has signed the Americans for Tax Reform Taxpayer Protection Pledge vowing not to raise taxes. Conversely, just last week, Sen. Corzine declared he will not sign the pledge opposing tax increases.

Yet, over the last four years, according to data provided by the National Governors Association, the state has raised taxes more than any other state in the nation. The cumulative $8 billion tax increase represents an additional $1,000 tax burden for every man, woman, and child in the state. At the same time, the state has enacted an additional $12 billion of debt. That’s a total increase of $20 billion all to keep spending without cutting wasteful spending. The next governor of New Jersey needs to provide leadership to fix the structural spending problems facing the state or taxpayers will be hit with even higher tax bills in the next four years.

“Why has Jon Corzine not ruled out raising taxes on New Jersey taxpayers if he is elected governor,” asked taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “The current leadership in the state has raised taxes more than any other state in the nation, saddled the budget with massive debt and new entitlements, and the state still has the highest property taxes in the country. The last person New Jersey needs is another tax raising, debt issuing, pay to play spending, property tax increasing governor.”

Based on recent comments by Corzine, it appears he will take a page out of the Jim McGreevey campaign playbook. Throughout the 2001 campaign, McGreevey pledged he will not raise taxes. But he refused to sign the pledge. Within three days of being elected, McGreevey declared he would not raise the income or the sales tax. Then after saddling every segment of the population with targeted tax increases, McGreevey raised the income tax disguised as property tax relief. Then he took away the property tax relief, leaving the state with $8 billion of tax increases, $12 billion of new debt, and the largest property tax increases in 15 years.

"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Jon Corzine will not get away with empty promises that he will not raise taxes given his predecessor’s past behavior," continued Norquist. “If Corzine refuses to put in writing his opposition to any and all tax increases, the New Jersey voters should reject this rhetoric and conclude he will raise your taxes if he is elected.”