Christie to Democrats: Let’s Make a Deal

July 2, 2012

By Mark J. Magyar, NJ Spotlight

Gov. Chris Christie’s campaign for a tax cut, his case for reelection as governor, and his quest for a leading role on the national stage all get rolled into one with his speech to a joint session of the Legislature this morning.

The high-profile speech gives Christie a platform to draw a sharp contrast with New Jersey Democrats on the tax cuts that would be the signature issue of his gubernatorial reelection bid. It also offers a final opportunity to showcase his rhetorical skills as Mitt Romney weighs his choices for vice president and keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention in Tampa just eight weeks away.

Most significantly, Christie’s decision to call the Legislature into special session shows that he has not given up on his fight for an immediate tax cut — either the across-the-board 10 percent income tax cut he originally called for or some variation of the middle-class property tax credit that Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) proposed.

With tax revenues coming in hundreds of millions of dollars short, the Legislature’s Democratic majority showed rare unanimity last Monday in voting to defy the popular Republican governor by deferring implementation of any across-the-board income or property tax cuts for at least six months until they see revenues improve.

Christie immediately attacked the Democrats for “holding tax relief hostage.” His decision to call the Legislature back into session today is just one of a series of moves designed to bring the political pressure needed to win over the five Democratic votes he would need in the Senate and nine in the Assembly to enact a tax cut.

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