Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Even with Lower Revenues, Christie Urges Tax Credit

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Even with Lower Revenues, Christie Urges Tax Credit

Article excerpt

Governor Christie issued a new challenge to lawmakers struggling to make sense of recently lowered state revenue projections Wednesday: Pass a new tax credit even if they fear the state can't afford it.

The lawmakers can "leave it to the governor to figure out how to pay for it," Christie said after an event at Belmar. Christie vetoed a package of jobs bills that included unfunded tax credits sponsored by Democrats, and he faulted lawmakers for sending "bills to my desk which ignore the overall fiscal impact of their spending proposals."

"We must have the political courage both to advance new ideas for improving the state's business environment and to make the necessary choices to pay for them," Christie wrote in that veto message.

Christie's latest tax-cut challenge to lawmakers comes just days after his administration revealed that it lowered the forecast for tax collections through the end of June 2014 by $165 million, and as Christie and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono, a Democratic state senator, released dueling attack ads that focus on tax and economic issues.

Taxes and the economy are expected to be key issues in the 2013 gubernatorial contest; all 120 legislative seats are also on the November ballot this year.

Democrats who control the Legislature are in the final stages of reviewing Christie's proposed $32.9 billion spending plan for the new fiscal year. The state constitution requires that a balanced budget be in place by July 1.

Christie has proposed a $100 income tax credit for both renters and homeowners making up to $400,000 annually that would start in 2014, saying it would help bring relief to overburdened taxpayers and boost the state's economy.

The governor said the tax credit would cost an estimated $183 million. But that amount is not yet included in the proposed budget, and Christie has not said exactly how the state would pay for the credit.

Non-partisan legislative budget analyst David Rosen told the Assembly Budget Committee Tuesday that a shortfall in the new fiscal year could be as large as $441 million, and that's before any potential tax-credit initiative is accounted for. …

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