Monday, December 21, 2009

Christie Crosses the Opposition

Noted reckless driver Chris Christie has taken an approach to economic policy that's as haphazard and dangerous as his motoring skills. According to Tom Moran of the Newark Star-Ledger, the incoming governor of New Jersey has announced that he will seek a tax cut aimed at state residents earning more than $400,000 per year, even as he plans to cut spending on various social programs to keep the state from going into bankruptcy or something like it. Aid to hospitals and money for teachers and police are among the programs in jeopardy.
Although shared sacrifice isn't much of a concern to the incoming governor, it is to the state Democrats, who will still control both houses of the New Jersey legislature. They rightfully find it obscene and unconscionable that Christie would ask poor and middle-class New Jerseyans to sacrifice to put the state back in good fiscal health . . . only to give the upper classes a big tax giveaway. The tax cuts could cost the state up to one billion dollars while people of lesser means struggle to get by in the middle of a recession.
Incredibly, Christie has pledged not to negotiate on his tax plan, and the legislature is almost assured to oppose him on it. Christie seems to have forgotten the need for fairness in getting the state out of the hole it's in. He defends the tax cut by insisting it will free up money for investment in the state and keep wealthy people and businesses from moving out and taking their job investment dollars with them - even though such tax cuts have never been effective in spurring job creation and the number of wealthy residents actually increased in the past decade, despite the higher taxes.
Christie also forgot something else - the Republicans didn't win the power in New Jersey, just the executive branch. He's only going to be the governor around here. If he thinks he can get the legislature to adopt his my-way-or-the-highway approach, he'll be sadly mistaken.

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