PALISADES PARK – Gov. Chris Christie this afternoon criticized Democrats on the marriage equality question, challenging them to excoriate President Barack Obama if they want credibility in disparaging his decision to conditionally veto their marriage equality bill.
The president has not publicly described marriage equality as a civil right.
“Since he hasn’t I have to conclude he doesn’t (think it’s a civil right),” said Christie. “My position is in lock step with the president’s. Why aren’t you criticizing the president of the United States? …If they want some credibility with the same-sex marriage movement across the country, they should criticize the president.”
Short of projecting their outrage across the aisle, the governor expressed doubt about the Democrats’ real passion for the issue.
“Right now they’re committed to the politics of the issue,” said Christie.
The entire area radiates that bulldozed New Jersey feel up here, as if the pioneers who built the place crammed the land together to get the maximum taxable property squeezed into a small, cramped space.
Finding a footprint at the local high school, Christie used the region where former Ridgefield Mayor Anthony Suarez beat corruption charges to drum out his Jersey Comeback theme and his income tax slash in front of a friendly crowd.
“Everybody’s getting a tax cut,” said the governor, stressing an egalitarian concept behind his 10 percent income tax proposal. “This will help create jobs and a better economy. This isn’t trickle down economics.”
From afar, Democrats rejected his proposal a day after he officially packaged it in his budget address.
“What the Governor failed to admit to his audience is that average, effective property taxes have increased by 20 percent statewide as a direct result of his budget policies over the past two years and that homeowners in Palisades Park have been hit with an increase of 13.8 percent during the same period,” said Richard McGrath, spokesman for the Senate Democrats.
“When the Governor took office, homeowners in Palisades Park paid an effective average property tax of $6,833; they now pay $7,776, on average. Because the Governor slashed the Homestead Rebate Program – one of the more effective ways of easing the property tax burden for the middle class – the average rebate in Palisades Park went from $1,163 before Christie took office to $272 in 2011.”
Rankled by the critique, Christie said his plan front-ends competition in a region where New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy both want to outbid New Jersey in the job creation department.
“Since 2000, the entire time of exclusive Democratic rule, there was a wet blanket on job growth,” said Christie.
Whitney Houston Flag Flap
The governor told reporters he received dozens of derogatory emails in the aftermath of his decision to fly flags at half staff in honor of the memory of Newark-born Whitney Houston.
“They displayed some ugly stuff in America,” said the governor, referring to one message that wanted to know how the governor could honor a “crack ho.”
“‘How can I lower flags for a crack ho?’ Christie said. “Reprehensible. They’re all brave sending emails that are awfully disrespectful to her memory. Drug addiction is a disease. We need to start dealing with the underlying disease.”
Minimum Wage Raise
The governor in his remarks to reporters also mentioned his willingness to examine Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver’s (D-34) proposal of a minimum wage raise.
He may be open to the idea, just as long as he’s a part of talks on the subject, he said.