Governor Chris Christie is somewhat of a polarizing figure in the Garden State. His approval and disapproval numbers are not too different and that truly speaks to the “love or hate” feeling he generates from New Jerseyans. There have been decisions that he has made that warrant praise. While he has also made achoices that leave one wondering “Why?”. Above all else, Christie is a straight talker. And one does not receive too many curve balls from him.
Hence, it might not be too surprising that he is giving New Jerseyans a bit of a preview of what to expect come next month when Christie proposes a new budget. Christie, as have many amongst the Republican Party, has argued against higher taxes and utilized businesses as the main group whom is most worried regarding higher taxes. With that in mind, Christie will provide a tax break for New Jersey businesses as part of the next budget.
The move reflects the move by President Obama and Congress as they passed and signed the tax cut compromise last month. It also reflects some of the measures passed recently in the State Legislature via the “Back to Work New Jersey” package. Some might see Christie’s proposed jesture as another “bailout”, but despite some of the unpopularity around it; there is a need to provide businesses with the right incentives to increase their desire to hire at a higher rate. They have had a couple years during the recession with recently extended tax rates, but with the recession slowly healing; businesses will soon be out of excuses if they do not take advantage of these cuts and ease the unemployment rate.
Christie echoed not only the importance of tax cuts and the incentives around them, but the impact it holds for businesses in the state moving forward. As Christie said,
“There will be tax cuts in this year’s budget for New Jersey business, and that’s good news for our businesses and trying to attract businesses to New Jersey.”
At the same time, Christie is approaching the matter of tax cuts realistically in terms of what is manageable for the next budget.
However, some like Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-3) were inclined to reveal a bit of Christie’s hypocrisy when it comes to dealing with measures that Democrats have put forth that he ultimately favors in some way. Christie was critical of a deal constructed by Sweeney in December that featured multiple measures in Christie’s “tool kit”. He has already stated a bit of a concern with some of the “Back to Work New Jersey” package. As Sweeney pointed out,
“He’s making excuses on why he doesn’t like them (Democratic tax proposals). Just tell the truth, you don’t like them because Democrats sponsored them.”
There is certainly a good deal of agreement between both sides and Christie and Sweeney, but where to cut and how much to cut in different tax areas in where the two men and two parties start to differ. The debate over property taxes remain a major part of discussions, but there are cuts that go beyond businesses and impact schools and cities. Both sides are looking to create an atmosphere where individuals especially businesses want to be in the state and be encouraged of the economic prospects of the state.
The state budget and tax cuts for businesses were only one of the items addressed by Governor Christie at his latest media stop: Fox News’ “Fox News Sunday” hosted by Chris Wallace.
Wallace had to ask Christie one of the more rhetorical questions he has faced in recent months: Are you going to run in 2012 for president?
Christie continued to stand by his desire to stay in New Jersey and not pursue a higher calling. He might have even made his stance even firmer; largely due to not personally being ready and wanting to finish what he started in New Jersey.
As he stated,
“I am not arrogant enough to believe that after one year as governor of New Jersey and seven years as U.S. Attorney that I am ready to be president. I don’t think you run just because political opportunity is there, that’s how we end up with politicians who aren’t prepared for their jobs.”
Christie seems to feel, which is comforting for New Jerseyans, that his purpose is serving the state of New Jersey. There are some people who enjoy serving local and state governments. Christie looks to be one of those type of elected officials.
Wallace looked to get some conservative political opinions from Christie. Christie has mentioned on campaign stops and other media ventures that the country can learn from New Jersey. Pitching that further Christie stated,
“Republicans in Washington should do what we did in New Jersey, clearly articulate. Go out to the public and make your case.”
Christie has certainly taken his message around the state and not allowed Democrats to cause him to budge. He has also found leeway and not allowed the state to become unfunctional.
Christie, too, weighed in on the Arizona shooting and what might need to be done in order to change today’s political vitriol. Christie was asked the difference between vitriol and being straight forward by Wallace. For Christie, it is a matter of being clear and upfront and not pushing things too far.
He also stood by his comments about Sarah Palin needing to be more off script if she wanted to be more presidential.
Chris Christie has had his moments during his first year, but his commentary this past week reflect some common sense and real objective opinion. He might be faulted at times for being too upfront. But, his recent comments are refreshing and honest. Something that a lot of politicians sometimes are not. Something he should work more on in 2011.