TRENTON – State Democratic leaders came out swinging Thursday following news that New Jersey’s unemployment numbers spiked again in July as the state lost 12,000 jobs.
Senate President Steve Sweeney, (D-3), West Deptford, issued a statement calling the latest numbers from the state’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development proof that Gov. Chris Christie’s policies are failing to get New Jerseyans back to work.
“There is no way to interpret this other than bad,” said Sweeney, adding he doesn’t want to “hear any spin” from the administration regarding the recent jobs report.
“I don’t want to hear anything remotely close to painting this as good news. I don’t want a press conference touting these numbers as if it’s a ‘mission accomplished’ moment,” Sweeney said in the release.
“What I want to see is this administration admit it is failing in terms of getting people back to work,” he said. “What I want to see is a solid plan from this administration on how we can create jobs in New Jersey. The people of this state deserve nothing less than that.”
The Senate leader’s statement came after news that the state’s unemployment rate increased to 9.8 percent in July, a 0.2 percent increase from the prior month, as the state lost 12,000 jobs. New Jersey’s unemployment rate continues to outpace the national unemployment rate of 8.3 percent.
Other top Democratic lawmakers were also quick to pounce on the governor, calling Christie’s coined slogan the “Jersey Comeback” as “elusive as Mitt Romney’s tax returns,” said Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald, (D-6), Voorhees, in a statement.
“Then again, since he’s spent so much time out of state campaigning for Gov. Romney lately, perhaps he hasn’t noticed that the only people feeling a comeback under Christie are the millionaires and billionaires enjoying massive tax breaks,” Greenwald said in the release.
The recent jobs report numbers came just weeks before Christie is slated to appear in Tampa as the keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention.
The governor’s office issued a release Wednesday indicating the state Department of Treasury is expected to report that the collections of gross income, corporate business and sales taxes for July 2012 compared to July 2011 were up 3 percent.
“Here’s what we know about July revenue collections,” said Christie spokesman Kevin Roberts in the release, “It’s up.”
However, no other figures were issued Wednesday.
A Treasury spokesman said earlier Thursday that additional information is expected to be released sometime today.
But even with the expected release of additional information, Senate Democrats still used the opportunity to deliver a blow to the governor.
Sen. Barbara Buono, (D-18), Metuchen, said in a statement that Christie’s own executive order requires the Treasury Department to publish detailed monthly reports on state revenues.
“How can Christie be running around the state calling for an immediate tax cut when he won’t be honest about whether revenues are coming in on target? Fortunately for New Jersey taxpayers, the Democratic leadership in the Senate and the Assembly were responsible and insisted that we wait to see the revenue numbers before approving a tax cut,” Buono said.