Tax cut proposal moving forward despite revenue gap

TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie wouldn’t say Wednesday if he’s nearing a tax cut comprise with members of the Legislature, but left little doubt about whether a proposal would ultimately emerge.

During an afternoon news conference announcing the planned opening of two Amazon.com warehouses in the state, the governor was asked whether New Jersey could afford cutting taxes amidst disappointing revenue figures that were announced last week.

” … People and businesses leave the state and our tax base gets further and further diminished,” Christie responded. “We need to turn this around and become more competitive as a state.”

The governor was asked to comment on his tax cut proposal a week after his administration revealed the latest revenue projections, which indicated the state would fall $676 million short of its mark through fiscal year 2013. The figure represents a little over half the revenue miss of $1.3 billion predicted by the Office of Legislative Services.

Christie argued a tax cut will be necessary to become competitive, saying, “We have no choice but to do it.”

“We’re not going to throw gasoline on the positive fire that we started,” he said. “New Jersey is in the midst of a comeback and I’m not going to allow the continued onerous tax policy to put a damper on that.”

Christie’s current plan would give an across the board 10 percent income tax cut.

Senate President Steve Sweeney offered a proposal that would tie the cut to the amount of property taxes paid. His plan would limit the tax cuts to those earning $250,000 or less, and would only apply to the first $10,000 in property taxes.

Two weeks ago, the two men were reportedly prepared to announce a deal that would have provided a 10 percent credit against the first $10,000 in property taxes for taxpayers earning less than $400,000.

But when asked today how close he and the Legislature are to reaching a deal, Christie declined to comment.

“Deals are fleeting in this town,” he responded.

Tax cut proposal moving forward despite revenue gap