Dems reject Christie’s beach-tour rhetoric

Senate and Assembly Democrats alike say they are not swayed by Gov. Chris Christie’s “Endless Summer Beach Tours” and argue New Jersey residents shouldn’t be either.

Democrats, who control the Legislature that recently sent the governor a budget that didn’t provide for an immediate tax relief plan, say the governor is wrong to push for one unless the state’s revenues are there to support it. The Democratic Party argues New Jersey residents agree with them – and they have the polls to prove it.

“People do understand,” Senate President Steve Sweeney told Wednesday.

“People honest to God understand,” he said. “They don’t want you to give them something today and take it away tomorrow.”

Sweeney was citing a poll released Tuesday that found 54 percent of voters surveyed said it’s “better to wait” after being asked if they thought it would be better to pass a tax cut now or wait to see if enough revenues come in to support it, according to the Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press poll.

Only 37 percent of voters agreed it was better to pass more immediate tax relief, according to the poll.

Sweeney also credited the majority of surveyed residents responding the way they did because he said they understand the proposed tax cut plan pushed by the governor is not immediate at all, explaining it would provide residents relief when they file their 2012 taxes in April 2013.

The comments come on the heels of Christie’s Wednesday beach town hall in Ocean City where he hammered Democrats for not providing immediate tax relief. The governor promised the so-called “Corzine Democrats” that he would drive the message to residents all summer long, telling New Jerseyans to call their lawmakers, tell Democrats to “get the hell off the beach” and pass a tax cut bill.

Sweeney’s comments were echoed by Democrats in the lower chamber, who said residents should not let the governor’s rhetoric get the best of them.

“The governor should spend less time playing theater and more time getting in touch with middle-class New Jerseyans suffering under his policies,” Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald said in a statement.

“New Jerseyans clearly support the Democratic position of responsible budgeting and reject the governor’s reckless approach of spending money we don’t have,” he continued. “That’s a simple fact that the governor is going to have to finally face, even if it flies against his national ambition.”

Sweeney argued all lawmakers are eager to provide tax relief, saying, “We’re not resisting, we’re not being spiteful and no one is trying to deny anything.”

Rather, the Democratic Party just wants to make sure “we can pay for it,” he said.

The Senate president said lawmakers do not have a specific benchmark in mind for when they would agree to pass the tax cut, saying revenues do not have to completely reach the governor’s projections.

“It doesn’t have to be an exact dead-on number,” he said. “But, if we’re close (to the governor’s projections) we’re going to do a tax cut because we want to do it. We all want to do it.”

Earlier story:

Christie says Dems never wanted tax cut

  Dems reject Christie’s beach-tour rhetoric