To a special joint session of the Senate and Assembly, Gov. Chris Christie used a gentler tone than the one he has used at town hall meetings to describe the Democratic-controlled legislature. He made an appeal to both chambers of the legislature to adopt his tax cut plan, arguing that giving New Jerseyans tax relief today would create jobs tomorrow.
For almost two thirds of the speech, the governor detailed and spoke glowingly of bipartisan accomplishments of the past two years. “We’ve done something pretty unprecedented, not just for New Jersey, but for our country,” said Christie.
Despite fierce disagreements, he touted the way both sides have compromised to get things done, which he says makes New Jersey a model for bipartisan leadership. “Washington, D.C. has been paralyzed because people talk at one another and not to one another. No one stops for a second to think about how what they fail to do today will lead to failure for our citizens tomorrow. Instead, it’s a constant fight to see who wins the next 24-hour news cycle.”
Among the “landmark reforms” accomplished this year, he cited:
- bipartisan teacher tenure reform for the first time in 100 years;
- mandatory drug rehabilitation for non-violent offenders;
- an historic reorganization of the state’s higher education system
He urged lawmakers that “now is not the time to change course and reverse” the hard work by failing to give the people of New Jersey a tax break, arguing that there is money available to fund a tax cut in the form of a $650 million surplus.
Christie spoke of his own commitment to compromise, saying “I have come to the center of the room and agreed to the Senate Democratic tax plan,” Christie has moved from his initial plan for an across-the-board 10 percent income tax cut, accepting Senate Democrats’ plan for residents (making less than $400,00 per household) to take a credit on their income tax credits worth 10 percent of what they paid in property taxes, up to $1,000.
“A bipartisan tax cut plan is on all of your desks right now” he said. “Let’s show our state we can work together and finish the job before we leave for this holiday weekend.”