Corzine tries to bury monetization as a campaign issue

With less than a week to go before the election, the two-year-old specter of asset monetization has been raised again – and Gov. Corzine hopes to put the subject to rest as soon as possible.

In a press conference with reporters this morning, Corzine said that a New York Times report that says he told the paper that he was considered revisiting a scaled back version of the program was inaccurate.

Below is a transcript of this morning’s news conference pertaining to the Times story, provided by the Corzine campaign (emphasis theirs):

Q: Do you believe that a toll plan should be brought back?

GOVERNOR CORZINE: “NO! No toll increases, no leasing. Off the table. Not gonna happen. PERIOD!”

Q: Did they get it wrong?

GOVERNOR CORZINE: “They got it wrong because they focused on the fact that we may raise money out of our rest stops on properties that surround the turnpike. No toll increases…no leasing of the turnpike. Off the table, not happening PERIOD! And you know I think if you read that article you will also see that Mr. Christie has backed away from every single promise that he talked about during the campaign, particularly during the primary, about how he was gonna roll back the sales tax, how we was gonna increase rebates, how he was gonna put more money into school funding. All of those things are out the window.

Only one thing is he standing with–he's gonna keep tax cuts for people who make over 400,000…the very wealthy. That is going to drive property tax increases for every single middle class New Jerseyan. That's what the Star Ledger said, that's what multiple analysts who have looked at that suggestion. Tax cuts for the wealthy don't work if you want to support the middle class. And that's the only promise he maintained in that particular article.”

Contacted by PolitickerNJ.com, the Times stood by the accuracy of its story.

Meanwhile, Democrats are launching a counter-offensive against Christie based on comments he made to the Times that appeared in the same story – which Corzine referenced in the above quote. According to the paper, Christie went back on earlier campaign pledges to fully restore property tax rebates, cut income taxes across the board, avoid using “one-shot” revenues to close the budget gap, restore higher education funding and create a permanent funding source for open space preservation.

"Since February, Chris Christie has left voters scratching their heads with broad talk that has lacked any specifics or real sense of direction," said Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville). "Now, after talking of little else, he has thrown his entire economic playbook out the window. After admitting that his campaign's central promises were based on smoke-and-mirrors, voters have even less of a clue of where Mr. Christie stands."

"I’m an undertaker by trade, so when I bury somebody, they don’t come back."
—Bergen County Democratic Chairman Lou Stellato