Category Archives: Gov. Chris Christie

As A Matter Of Fact…Reality Check: Income Taxes Don’t Impede Economic Growth

by Jon Whiten | Published in NJPP Blog: As a Matter of Fact …

As Gov. Chris Christie prepares to unveil the specifics of his proposed 10-percent income tax cut at next week’s budget address, he’s working under a key tenet of conservative economics: that high tax rates harm economic growth.

There’s just one problem, according to a new national report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP): that tenet doesn’t match up with reality.

These claims are based largely on misleading analyses generated by Arthur Laffer, long-time spokesman of a supply-side economic theory that President George H. W. Bush once called “voodoo economics” because of its bizarre insistence that tax cuts very often lead to higher revenues. Recently, Laffer’s consulting firm has been very successful (with the help of the American Legislative Exchange Council, Americans for Prosperity, and the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page) in spreading the talking point that the nine states without personal income taxes have economies that far outperform those in the nine states with the highest top tax rates.

In reality, however, residents of “high rate” income tax states are actually experiencing economic conditions at least as good, if not better, than those living in states lacking a personal income tax.

The report pits the nine “high rate” states identified by Laffer (a list that includes New Jersey) against the nine states that don’t have a broad-based personal income tax in three categories: growth per capita, median family income and unemployment rate.

From 2001 to 2010, the “high rate” states have seen stronger growth per capita and less erosion of median family income, while the average unemployment rate has been the same as the un-taxed states.

The bottom line, according to ITEP?

“There is no reason for states to expect that reducing or repealing their income taxes will improve the performance of their economies.”

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Filed under As a Matter of Fact, blog, Gov. Chris Christie, income taxes, Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), New Jersey Policy Perspective

OP-ED: Governor Rex Christie

In light of the big game tonight, Josh Henne sent me a link to this op-ed he wrote on the striking similarities between Rex Ryan & Chris Christie. It appears over at PolitickerNJ:

In a sea of vanilla coaches and milquetoast politicians, Jets Coach Rex Ryan and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie have burnished reputations for bluster, bullying and bombast. They’re tailor-made for the attention-deficit, me-first, sizzle-over-substance society we live in. A splashy quote, a bold claim with a curse-word thrown in for good measure…and bickety-bam you’ve got a nice hit on the nightly news or a clip to go viral online. Sure, these two men can be considered refreshing. But so is a colonic. And you certainly don’t want to deal with either on a daily basis.

It stands to reason these two larger-than-life characters stand out – because Christie and Ryan both furnish the media with quality copy and soundbites. However, there’s a fine line between being charming and becoming a caricature of yourself. And leaders are afforded a short rope before folks start realizing the rhetoric doesn’t match the results. In recent months, Christie and Ryan have planted their feet firmly on the wrong side of both accounts.

The beauty of both politics and the playing field is that these arenas are results-oriented. The metrics of wins and accomplishments are the only ones that matter. It’s not just about who can talk the biggest game. And the shtick employed by both Christie and Ryan runs thin once you scratch the surface of their swagger.

No one remembers football teams who never make it to the big game – no matter how many times their coach promises a trip to the Super Bowl. Rex believes if he yells loud enough folks will forget choking in the conference championship or failing to even make the playoffs. If Ryan makes himself the story, perhaps fans won’t notice his team regressing or his quarterback failing to grow.

In politics, its hard to take someone seriously who hogs the spotlight, bashes his own state to pander to Iowa crowds and tosses the word “hell” into public statements like a twelve-year old who just discovered cursing. It’s difficult to believe someone is authentic when they pack taxpayer-funded townhall meetings with partisan backers and care more about generating youtube moments than results. It’s hard to take Governor Christie at his word as he pledges poverty when cutting essential programs, yet miraculously finds funds to give handouts and bailouts to casino execs, mall developers and those at the tippy top of the economic strata.

The words “doing the big thing” are often shouted to the rafters by Chris Christie. Yet if you look at actual results, he comes up small every time. New Jersey lags the nation when it comes to employment. And no matter how many times Christie claims he hasn’t raised taxes, all anyone has to do is hold up a train ticket, scan a tuition bill from a state university or look at their property taxes to see swelling costs.

Both Christie and Ryan have an amazing ability to change the topic following failures. Rex shoots off his mouth after a loss, giving excuses while still calling his team the one to beat – no matter how badly he was outcoached by those who might not be as flashy, but have more substance. When Christie skipped town with an historic blizzard bearing down on his state, the governor refused to take responsibility and even blamed local mayors when he finally came home from his Disney vacation. When New Jersey’s children lost $400 million in Race to the Top funding because his administration bungled a simple application, Christie first blamed Barack Obama and then threw his own Education Commissioner under the bus.

Chris Christie might not share Rex Ryan’s predilection for sucking on toes. But the governor does spend an inordinate amount of time and energy sucking up to the Koch Brothers, Karl Rove and corporate lobbyists. And that’s a far more nefarious fetish. Because these one-percenters are seeking to scale back regulations in order to better their bottom line – even if it means poisoning New Jersey’s land, air and water. In Christie’s New Jersey, middle-class families find themselves in harms way time and again.

Like Rex Ryan, Christie’s image as a take-charge guy rings hollow when you see the rudderless execution of plans. Womens’ health, infrastructure improvements and education efforts have all been defunded. Cops and firefighters receive pink slips, while crime escalates. And Christie has no vision for the future – as evidenced by cancelling the ARC Tunnel linking to Manhattan which would have taken cars off the road, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, raised home values and created 6,000 immediate jobs and 45,000 future jobs.

On the playground, the cardinal rule is that when you’ve got a big mouth you’ve got to be able to back it up. The quickest way to shut up a bully is to call them out. And for all their blunt statements and bold claims, folks are finally catching onto the Christie-Ryan playbook. The coach and the governor have both elevated the bar with inflated achievement to the point that even slight improvements would seem mundane when the tale of the tape is truly told. More and more, their exhortations are being met with eyerolls and yawns.

With his annual guarantees of a Super Bowl victory, yet failing to even make the playoffs this year, Rex Ryan is clearly no second coming of Joe Namath. And Chris Christie…well, let’s just hope he goes the way of Sarah Palin. A one-term governor with a big personality who burst onto the national scene and became addicted to the adulation to the point of diminishing returns and eventual ridicule.

What society needs – in all facets of life – are leaders of substance focused on results, not their own ego or personal gratification. Clearly, Coach Ryan and Governor Christie care more about creating headlines than making a real difference. We should treat them like a parent dropping off a crying kid at nursery school. All they want is attention, so if we just walk away hopefully they’ll get the hint and cut the act.

Josh Henne is a Democratic strategist and a Giants fan.

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Filed under Arc Tunnel, bullying, cops and firefighters, Gov. Chris Christie, Josh Henne, middle-class families, New Jersey, NY Giants, NY Jets, Op-Ed, PolitickerNJ, Rex Ryan, Super Bowl, women's health issues

BUONO RESPONDS TO GOVERNOR’S DERIDING COLLEGE SAVINGS, HIGHER EDUCATION BILLS AS "PILE OF CRAP"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 2, 2012

Senator Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex) released the following statement in response to Governor Chris Christie’s latest “YouTube” town hall moment during which he called bills passed at the end of the legislative session a “pile of crap”:

“Governor Christie talks about the need for a competitive business environment and job creation in New Jersey, but included in the so-called ‘pile of crap’ passed by the Legislature, the Governor vetoed my bill that would have facilitated partnerships between businesses and institutions of higher education. We need to better prepare our students for jobs in emerging markets instead of ridiculing efforts to do so. We should be creating opportunities for jobs that are actually in demand, instead of dismissing credible initiatives in the interest of scoring political points. While crass put downs may make for viral YouTube moments, in the end they reveal a callous disregard for the economic plight facing New Jersey families.

“For families struggling to save for their children’s college education, the Legislature passed my bill that would establish a tax-deductible savings plan, another initiative our Governor has deemed worthless. That says a lot about what he thinks of the future of New Jersey.

“It’s easy to act like a tough guy down in Trenton and put on a show when the spotlight’s on, but when the curtain closes, the middle class is still struggling to make ends meet.”

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Filed under college savings, education costs, Gov. Chris Christie, Middle Class, press release, savings plans, Senator Barbara Buono, Towns Hall, YouTube

Monmouth County Planning Board To Discuss State Strategic Plan; Public Hearing Scheduled

It’s nice to see that one of our locally elected officials is hard at work at the job he was appointed to by our “Rockstar” governor.

For a hint at who that individual might be, take a look at the email address below.

Keep up the good work there Scharfy!


The Monmouth County Planning Board, under the chairmanship of Vincent Domidion, will discuss the Proposed final draft of the State Strategic Plan: New Jersey State Development and Redevelopment Plan, dated October 11, 2011., on February 20, 2012 at 2 p.m., at the Hall of Records Annex, 1 E. Main Street, Freehold, NJ.

STATE PLANNING PUBLIC HEARING

As part of the State Planning Public Hearing, a presentation will be given at Monmouth University on February 28, 2012 at 6 P.M. At 7 p.m. a Public Hearing will be held .

This presentation and public hearing will be held at Bey Hall, Monmouth University, 400 Cedar Avenue, West Long Branch.

To access a copy of the Proposed Final Draft State Strategic Plan: New Jersey State Development and Re-Development Plan you may go online:

www.state.nj.us/state/planning/plan-draft-final.html

Or you may access by phone
609-633-8301
email: gerard..scharfenberger@sos.state.nj.us

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Filed under Freehold NJ, Gerry Scharfenberger, Gov. Chris Christie, Monmouth County Planning Board, Monmouth University, strategic plan

Senator Buono Letter to the Editor – Cervical Cancer Month

There were no flashing lights or red flags that let 4,000 women across this country know that cervical cancer was coming.

Most of these women – mothers, sisters, daughters, and aunts – felt no pain and lived normally unaware of the disease that in a matter of time would take their lives.

Most of these women – the majority of whom were under the age of 65 – are survived by friends and family, neighbors and co-workers who loved them and miss their presence daily.

All of these women – casualties of an illness that is 100 percent preventable – should still be here today.

Although the ubiquitous pink ribbons we all see each October may be more prevalent than the teal and white emblems symbolizing cervical cancer awareness in January, we cannot ignore the fact that each year 12,000 women in the United States receive a life-changing diagnosis that they have the disease.

More than ever before, we have the resources to ensure that cervical cancer becomes a thing of the past. In addition to regular Pap smears that can lead to early detection and treatment of the disease, young women under the age of 26 may receive a vaccine against the human papillomavirus, or HPV, the most common cause of cervical cancer. Federal health care reform provisions effective this August will make these services more affordable and thus more accessible. It is critically important – and potentially life-saving – that every young woman meets with her doctor to discuss these preventative measures.

In the state of New Jersey, this is an important time to think about just how crucial funding for women’s health centers really is. When Governor Christie cut $7.5 million of this support from the budget, he denied many women access to the examinations and care that help prevent and treat diseases that most affect them, including cervical cancer. As a husband and the father of two beautiful young daughters, one would expect that the governor would acknowledge the gravity of this funding.

Just last year, a young woman from Marlboro, through strength and faith, was able to overcome cervical cancer. But her road to being cancer-free was not an easy one. After starting her first full-time job, she went to the doctor for the first time in three years, a practice that had become irregular due to her lack of health insurance after graduating from college. Shortly after that visit, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. She did not feel sick. She did not look sick. But it took a decade of chemotherapy, radiation, and a hysterectomy – which left her infertile – for her to make a full recovery.

She is just 35.

This is not a matter of our principles and personal beliefs; it’s about memorializing the 4,000 women who died last year and honoring the young woman from Marlboro and other survivors by making sure that we learn, act, and move forward.

Sincerely,

Senator Barbara Buono
18th Legislative District

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Filed under cervical cancer, Gov. Chris Christie, HPV virus, letter to the editor, Marlboro NJ, Pap smears, Senator Barbara Buono, women's health issues

Congressman Frank Pallone Introduces Bill Bringing Sports Betting to New Jersey

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 20, 2012
Contacts: Ray Zaccaro (202) 225-4671

Trenton, N.J. – On Monday January 23, 2012, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr.(NJ-06) will stand with NJ State Senators Raymond Lesniak (NJ-20) and Jim Whelan (NJ-02) at the New Jersey State House to announce legislation he is introducing that will open sports betting to New Jersey. The bill will exclude New Jersey from the federal prohibition on professional and amateur sports gambling.

In November, 2011 New Jersey voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure amending the state constitution to authorize the Legislature to enact laws allowing sports wagering in New Jersey. On Wednesday, Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill allowing people over the age of 21 to place a bet on a sporting event in-person at special lounges created in casinos, racetracks or at the site of a former racetrack

“The existing federal law is unconstitutional and arbitrary, giving four states access to this billion-dollar industry, while shutting out the rest,” said Pallone. “The citizens of New Jersey have made it clear they want the opportunity to share in the profits from professional sports betting. This legislation will help even the playing field and uphold our state’s wishes on what is clearly a state issue.”

Senator Lesniak said, “We appreciate Congressman Pallone’s effort to get Congress to give New Jersey what our residents overwhelmingly want, the same ability to place bets on sporting events that it has given to the residents of Nevada and to boost revenues and jobs at our casinos and racetracks.”

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Filed under Congressman Frank Pallone, Gov. Chris Christie, media advisory, NJ Senator Raymond Lesniak (NJ-20), NJ State Senator Jim Whelan (NJ-02), Sports Betting, Trenton NJ

NJ Homeland Security’s 18 Double-Dippers Nab $9M in Pensions

For immediate release:

Inside the Gov’s ‘Office of Retirement $ecurity?’

The seal reads New Jersey Office of Homeland Security & Preparedness. But for agents drawing state salaries plus pension pay, it’s a symbol of their own fiscal security.

OHSP provides a bureaucratic safe haven for 18 “retired” officials who have collected nearly $9 million in state pension checks, a New Jersey Watchdog investigation revealed.

Those double-dippers currently receive more than $3 million a year – $1.3 million in state pension checks plus $1.7 million in salaries. On average, each gets $171,000 a year – $95,000 a year in salary plus $76,000 in retirement pay.

One-third of OHSP stafffers with salaries over $75,000 are double-dippers, led by Deputy Director Drew Lieb. He gets $226,000 a year – a $130,000 salary plus a $96,000 State Police pension as a retired lieutenant colonel.

New Jersey Watchdog’s analysis of state payroll and pension records for the 18 officials also found:

  • One-third “retired” from public employment for one day to start drawing state pensions.
  • Half are State Police retirees; the rest retired from other state or local law enforcement units.
  • The average age of retirement was 49.
OHSP reports directly to Gov. Chris Christie. It is a cabinet-level agency that functions primarily as a bureaucracy administering government grants and planning strategies to react to potential catastrophes

The story, along with New Jersey Watchdog’s list of “retired” officilas employed by OHSP is online at http://newjersey.watchdog.org/2012/01/16/homeland-security/.

New Jersey Watchdog – http://newjersey.watchdog.org – is a news site devoted to investigative reporting and public service journalism. Editor Mark Lagerkvist can be reached at Mark@Lagerkvist.net.

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Filed under double dipping, Gov. Chris Christie, Mark Lagerkvist, nj watchdog