By David Cruz
Gov. Chris Christie was unapologetically late to today’s announcement. But no one — except maybe for a few in the press corps — seemed to mind, since the governor was delivering — technically — some good news, with a 4.3 percent unemployment rate, more of us are paying into the Unemployment Insurance or UI Trust Fund, helping to bring the fund back to full solvency.
“Today I’m also pleased to announce due to the administration’s effort to return the UI Trust Fund to full solvency, where it now stands with a positive balance of nearly $1 billion, we have triggered another $200 million in tax reductions for New Jersey employers by reaching that threshold,” announced Christie.
It’s unclear what share of that $200 million JP Morgan Chase — in whose headquarters today’s announcement was made — will get, but the governor says it’s going to make it possible for firms like JP Morgan to hire more workers.
“It’s successful companies like yours — JP Morgan and others — not the government, that’s going to grow the economy and create jobs, and the creation of these new jobs by JP Morgan in New Jersey and your expansion is proof of that,” he said. “Our job is to make it easier and more affordable for you to live and work here, not more expensive and more burdensome.”
The governor gave some credit to the Legislature, although no lawmakers appeared with him today. He also credited his administration’s anti-fraud effort with helping to fatten the UI Fund. And, while he was on the subject of taxes, he praised his administration’s move to order three cities to conduct property revaluations. Tax fairness for everyone, he said, while nudging Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, whose city will have to comply.
“Here in Jersey City, residential property is not valued nearly at what it should be because it hasn’t been revalued in over 27 years, so there will be some in the city who will object for political reasons,” said Christie. “We gave them 27 years to follow the constitution; they’re supposed to do this on a regular basis.”
It’s hard to tell what the governor’s actual motive was for coming all the way to Jersey City to make this somewhat inside baseball announcement, but good corporate tax news and a jab at Fulop, a half mile from city hall, might have been too much to pass up.