Statement from Deputy Speaker John S. Wisniewski in Response to Governor Christie’s Garfield Town Hall Comments Regarding New Jersey’s Budget and Taxes

(SAYREVILLE) – Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-19) released the following statement in response to Governor Christie’s comments at yesterday’s Garfield Town Hall meeting regarding New Jersey budget and tax policies and proposals:

“The Governor is quick to level charges in town hall forums where no one is available to challenge his version of events, most recently at his Garfield Town Hall meeting and his discussion about tax and budget policy. What he fails to mention, however, is how his own policies and proposals are picking the pockets of hard working middle class men and women throughout New Jersey in order to benefit New Jersey’s wealthiest residents and ignore the promises he made as a candidate for Governor.”

“The truth is that in his first budget, Governor Christie eliminated the Earned Income Tax Credit for the working poor while supporting a reduction in the income tax for New Jersey’s millionaires.”

“The truth is that Governor Christie has reduced funding to middle class towns for education, reduced aid to municipalities, reduced the state’s property tax reimbursement programs and reduced eligibility for seniors to participate in the Senior Freeze property tax relief program, all of which have raised our property tax burden. By one news organization’s analysis, New Jersey’s property tax burden has risen more than 20% in his first two years in office.”

“The truth is that his failure to address the financial crisis with our Transportation Trust Fund has resulted in the Port Authority’s plan to raise tolls and fares for commuters by 50% or more. The Governor also cancelled a major transportation infrastructure project but refused to support a reduction in Turnpike and Parkway tolls that were to pay for the project. And while candidate Christie campaigned against both the use of bonding for roadwork and bonding without public approval, Governor Christie now is doing both.”

“The truth is that candidate Christie ran on a pledge to only budget for programs based on reasonable projections of a recurring revenue stream while Governor Christie has tapped into dedicated funds for one-time revenues to support his budgets.”

“The truth is that while candidate Christie ran on a promise of fiscal responsibility, Governor Christie’s plan to pay for pensions, benefits and transportation defers the payment of billions of dollars in state obligations until after his first term ends.”

“And the truth is that while Governor Christie’s proposed income tax cut would reward New Jersey’s millionaires with thousands of dollars in reduced taxes, most middle class families would see only a few hundred dollars, at best. In contrast, the Assembly Democrats’ proposal to reduce taxes would benefit middle class homeowners by reducing their property taxes by 20%.”

“The people of New Jersey deserve a complete and honest discussion about Governor Christie’s tax and budget policies and priorities. If he finds himself incapable of telling the whole story, I would be more than happy to join him at a public forum with non-partisan organizers so that New Jersey can hear the truth — the whole truth.”