TRENTON – Chris Christie said today lower than expected revenues for the first six months of the year likely will not affect his plan to cut state income taxes by 10 percent.
The state missed its projections by about 3 percent, or about $326 million for the first half of the fiscal year.
Asked if the missed projection could mean the plan to cut income taxes by 10 percent across the board might wait a year, Christie said probably not, but said he will evaluate to ensure the cut is instituted “in a responsible manner.”
“Like with everything else, I’m going to act in a responsible manner,” Christie said. “We’ll make an evaluation of this. We’ve pared back other proposals before that we’ve wanted when the numbers haven’t worked and we’ll do the same if we have to but I don’t think we’re going to have to.”
Christie said recent reports that New Jersey’s economy is on an upswing point to increased revenues in the future.
“I do think the growth you’re starting to see in the state is going to translate into increased revenues in the state,” he said. “When that happens we’re going to have some good choices to make and the income tax cut is at the top of that list.”
Christie plans to phase in the cut over three years, but has not yet said how he plans to pay for the cut, which would cost an estimated $1 billion.
Democrats oppose the income tax cut and instead are working on a proposal for property tax cuts. Legislative leaders have painted the governor’s proposal as a give-away to the rich, arguing that the benefit of an income tax cut to billionaires far outweighs the benefit to the middle class.
In fitting with his combative style, Christie used the question on the tax cut to lay into Democrats who last year proposed their own budget, one with nearly $1 billion more in spending than initially proposed by the administration.
“What I’m really happy about is that I didn’t do what the Democrats wanted us to do,” he said. We’d be in an even deeper hole. Thank god I line item vetoed $1 billion worth of spending or we’d be looking to cut school spending right now.”