Christie Had Said He Would Debate ‘Anytime They Want’
(TRENTON) – Another day and yet still no answer from Gov. Chris Christie on Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald’s request that the governor fulfill his own vow to debate “anytime they want” the Assembly Democratic plan for middle-class property tax relief versus the governor’s income tax scheme that would benefit the wealthy most.
Assembly Democrats have proposed a 20 percent property tax relief credit for the middle-class worth on average about $1,600 and a 25 percent property tax relief credit for senior and disabled citizens worth on average about $2,000.
Christie has proposed an income tax that would mostly benefit wealthy New Jerseyans.
The Star-Ledger posted the following:
Gov. Chris Christie, address lawmaker’s challenge on property tax relief plan
Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2012, 4:13 PM By Star-Ledger Editorial Board
In the Wild West, when you challenged somebody to a duel, you’d be called a coward if you didn’t show up.
Gov. Chris Christie likes to play the tough guy, and he put out a clear, chest-thumping challenge to Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D-Camden) at a news conference last week (see minute 43).
After launching into a lengthy diatribe against Greenwald, who’s criticized the governor’s plan for an income tax scheme that mostly benefits the wealthy, Christie concluded: “I’m more than happy to have that debate and discussion with the Democrats, any time they want.”
The message heard through the saloon doors was: Bring it.
The person challenged to the duel usually picks the weapons, time and place. And Greenwald gave his official reply on Monday — he had a letter delivered to the governor, inviting him to a debate on NJTV’s “On the Record” program, to be moderated by Michael Aron.
Yet so far he’s gotten no response from Christie, who now appears to be ducking any direct confrontation. That’s bad form. Will the governor not live up to his own vow?
“The governor himself said he was willing to debate this issue ‘any time they want,’ ” Greenwald said, “but now he is hiding behind a spokesman. This is a simple question, Governor. It deserves a straight answer. Is it a yes or is it a no?”
Greenwald’s right that Christie’s income tax plan helps the rich while doing little for New Jersey’s biggest problem: property taxes. In fact, the governor has left the average family saddled with a much larger overall tax burden, thanks to his sharp cutbacks on rebate programs.
Christie opposes Greenwald’s plan to provide property tax relief for the middle class because it’s partially funded by a “millionaire’s tax,” which the governor has vetoed twice. But if he’s going to stick with that approach, Christie shouldn’t be afraid to publicly debate their competing tax plans.
The honorable thing would be to either back down and concede the argument, or accept the challenge. Which will it be, Governor?