NJ Politics Digest: Christie Was Talking About German Soccer, Wasn’t He?

He can't get legislative leaders in his own party to go along with his budget plan, and now Gov. Phil Murphy has to put up with his predecessor chiding him for his poor sports picks.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

He can’t get legislative leaders in his own party to go along with his budget plan, and now Gov. Phil Murphy has to put up with his predecessor chiding him for his poor sports picks.

Murphy, the former U.S. ambassador to Germany, picked that country’s team to win the World Cup soccer tournament when he stepped up to the window at Monmouth Park Race Track to be the first person to place a legal sports bet in New Jersey.

But Murphy lost his $20 bet when South Korea defeated the Germans in a match Wednesday.

Christie, a sports fan who once tried out for a spot as an announcer on sports radio station WFAN, tweeted out congratulations to South Korea for defeating “an overrated” German team. The former governor, who had his own budget problems with the legislature, went on to say—when speaking about soccer, of course—that the game shows “who can really compete and who is just talk.”

Murphy, when talking about the ongoing budget stalemate that could result in a shutdown of state government this weekend, said he hadn’t consulted with “the South Korea soccer team’s biggest fan,” according to NJ.com.

Murphy on Thursday began preparing for a shutdown. Murphy is pushing a budget plan that raises more than $1.5 billion in new taxes, including a tax hike for millionaires, raising the state’s sales tax and taxing home- and ride-sharing services. The legislature, led by Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, is opposed to the millionaires tax, which they say will drive high wage earners from the state, and hiking the sales tax, which had been cut in a 2016 deal that raised the gas tax by 23-cents per gallon.

Both sides have offered compromises that in both cases the other side has not embraced.
Murphy ha said he’d accept a graduated hiking of the sales tax hike as well as smaller hikes in both the corporate and millionaires tax, along with the other hikes he’s proposing. He’s threatened to cut close to $900 million from the legislature’s budget if they won’t accept his plan. The legislature has stuck with the corporate tax and offered a plan to tax short-term rentals and other real estate transactions—which Murphy has said he won’t go along with.

Republicans, meanwhile, have advocated for cuts that would alleviate the need for tax hikes.
New Jersey residents bear one of the highest tax burdens in the country, and the state is among the top in the nation seeing more people leaving than moving in. Residents have consistently said the state’s tax burden is among its biggest problems.

Murphy maintains residents won’t mind paying more if they feel they are getting good value for their money.

The governor hasn’t said whether or not he’ll sign a 5-cent per paper or plastic shopping bag tax recently approved by the legislature. He has indicated an interest in taking advantage of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision allowing states to collect online sales taxes. He’s also said the gas tax will likely climb an additional 3-cents per gallon this fall.

Quote of the Day: “What you truly learn about when the game starts is who can really compete and who is just talk.” — Former Gov. Chris Christie, in a dig at Gov. Phil Murphy, who bet on Germany’s World Cup soccer team only to see it knocked out of the competition.

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NJ Politics Digest: Christie Was Talking About German Soccer, Wasn’t He?