FY14 budget war volley: Christie slams Dems for tax-cut inaction

MONTVILLE – A day after unveiling his Fiscal Year 2014 budget, Gov. Chris Christie was on the road in Morris County touting his proposal as a “disciplined” budget while criticizing Democrats for failing to take action on tax cuts.

The governor went on the offensive Wednesday and returned to the tone of his pre-Superstorm Sandy town hall events. Christie touted his accomplishments as governor and quickly slammed Democrats for failing to act on tax cuts.

“I’m proud of what we’ve been able to do in this state from a budgeting perspective,” Christie said. “We are spending less money – less of your money – than Jon Corzine spent in Fiscal Year 2008.”

Christie, who has used the few town hall events he’s hosted since Sandy to speak with shore residents, then ripped into Democrats on their stance on income taxes. The governor told the crowd of about 750 people that Democrats would likely send him another proposal to raise taxes on wealthy residents – which he promised he would veto for a fourth time.

“They try to raise taxes,” he said. “We have this fundamental disagreement.”

Despite no talk of a millionaire’s tax being on the table this early in the budget season, Christie explained to residents that although he may disagree with Democrats on taxes, he chose not to add an income tax cut proposal in this year’s budget because of the October storm that ravaged the state.

“After Sandy we have too many important issues to work on together,” he said. “I’m not going to turn this place into gridlock central.”

However, Christie hinted that Democrats’ failure to act on a tax cut proposal could likely be an election issue talking point.

“If you pass the tax cut I will sign it,” he said, referring to his conditional veto of a tax cut proposal he sent back to the Legislature.

“And if you don’t pass it, I’m happy to let the people of New Jersey to decide this question in New Jersey  by who they vote for governor,” he said to applause from the crowd.

The rest of the governor’s intro to the town hall rang a familiar tone from his events prior to the epic storm.

Christie has hosted a handful of town halls since Sandy, but those events took place near shore communities and were void of many of the pre-Sandy talking points the governor usually hammered home with voters.

"I don't think what he's doing tonight, the method by which he's doing it helps to build a trustful relationship."
—Gov. Chris Christie reacting to President Barack Obama's speech on immigration reform.