It’s a shopping list on steroids:
- A million dollars for a grant program to put kitchens in licensed child care centers.
- Half a million bucks for summer enrichment programs for New Brunswick schools.
- Another half-million for the Yellow Dot program, which would help emergency workers find critical health care information at car accident scenes.
- Sixty-six million for payments in lieu of taxes to towns “overburdened by cemeteries.”
Throw in programs on responsible fatherhood, retirement community studies and 20 bills that are through committee but not yet ratified in the statehouse, and it amounts to a giant, unfunded pile of government spending—all of it in the way of Gov. Chris Christie's push for a $250 million tax cut.
Speaking to the Chamber of Commerce of Southern New Jersey in Cherry Hill Thursday, Christie called out "the circus in Trenton," blaming legislators for 115 tax and fee increases from 2002-09 and their proposed budgets since, which exceeded state revenues.
“I thought we didn’t have any money to cut your taxes,” Christie said from the podium at the Crowne Plaza in Cherry Hill, as he scrolled through the list of bills on his smartphone. “They just can’t help themselves.”
Vowing to use “a big, fat red veto” on any tax increase proposals from his foes across the aisle, Christie exhorted the hundreds of business leaders and owners gathered at the conference center to take action against the Democrats at the polls this November.
Painting a dire picture of “airplane grandparents” forced to travel out-of-state to see the next generation grow up, the governor said more needs to be done to ensure families can stay in the state, and not be priced out by high taxes or lack of opportunity.
“We need to call these people out,” Christie said. “For some reason, these guys don’t understand this. [Tax increases are] not happening—not under any circumstances.”
Without mentioning "the Jersey Comeback," a slogan the governor touted in a visit to Haddonfield this summer, Christie still pointed to what he said are successes.
He highlighted the addition of 90,000 jobs in his tenure as governor, and said the goal is to erase the 117,000 jobs lost under former Democratic governor John Corzine, part of what Christie called a “jobless decade” under Democratic rule.
Christie didn’t, however, address New Jersey’s unemployment rate—currently fourth-highest in the nation, at a seasonally-adjusted 9.8 percent. That amounts to an increase of nearly a full percentage point since March; down slightly from a 9.9 percent high in August.