Republican Christopher Christie has been hammering Governor Jon Corzine on the issue of taxes in the New Jersey governor's race of late. But the New York and Philadelphia media which has deigned to cover the race has wanted to talk about mammograms, traffic tickets, and Christie's weight. Chritsie has been relentless in driving the message of lower taxes and slashing state spending as medicine to get New Jersey's worst-in-the-region economy moving again.
There was another recent candidate for governor in the Garden State who rode the message of lower taxes to victory in November: Jon Corzine. Back in 2005, Corzine promised property tax relief for New Jersey's over-burdened citizens. Things have not exactly worked out according to plan.
With a little help from the Wayback Machine, Jon Corzine's 2005 tax promises have been recovered. And his betrayal of New Jersey taxpayers exposed.
During his election campaign four years ago, Corzine made some pretty specific promises about taxes and spending. He dubbed his plan the REAL plan, which stood for Responsible, Effective, Affordable, and Lasting tax relief.
- Responsible. Corzine has a plan to grow state revenues from a growing economy, and make specific spending cuts. This is the only responsible way to make more state funds available for direct property tax relief without raising other taxes.
- Effective. Corzine’s plan gives direct rebates to homeowners and renters who need them; rebates are guaranteed to grow 10% per year – or 40% over 4 years.
- Accountable. Corzine will hold local governments and school districts accountable for their spending. He will push for a new, elected State Comptroller with jurisdiction over local government, and he will expand incentive programs for smart management and reduced spending by local governments. Corzine will also work to eliminate unfunded mandates. And he will end the “corruption tax” at all levels of government, to make sure taxpayers are not paying for sweetheart contracts and corruption.
- Lasting. Corzine will ensure lasting relief by hard-wiring rebates into the state budget, and by keeping NJ’s economy competitive to keep revenues growing. Also, Corzine strongly advocates for a Citizens’ Convention on property taxes to bring long-term structural relief and permanently reduce the property tax burden.
Who Corzine’s REAL plan helps: Corzine’s plan helps all those earning less than $200,000 per year. That means his plan will provide relief to over 90% of New Jersey taxpayers; that’s 2.4 million taxpaying households.
Looks like a good plan on paper. Too bad that's exactly what it turned out to be, a paper plan.
Property taxes in New Jersey have instead gone up by 17% since Corzine was elected on the promise to cut taxes. New Jersey families have been saddled with an additional $1,000 a year on their property tax bills as a result. In a twist of the tax knife, Corzine eliminated state property tax rebates for millions of New Jersey households.
New Jersey property taxes are the highest in the nation. And they keep going up. Corzine's fiscal 2010 budget, just passed by the state legislature, will result in another 3-4 percent increase in property taxes.
Christie has been barnstorming the state talking to overtaxed residents about his plan to cut income, corporate, and small business taxes, as well as slash state spending. But the press has taken to claiming that Christie has no specific plans to deal with the state's budgetary problems. But the press doesn't really care about specifics. If it did, it would be tearing at Corzine to explain where the 40% property tax cut he promised New Jerseyans went.
The truth is, of course, Corzine never intended to cut property taxes. That was just campaign rhetoric. Now, struggling to get more than 40% of the vote in his reelection bid, Corzine is the one who has gotten vague. He promises only to work with President Barack Obama and be his "partner" in turning the state's beleaguered economy around. The two make a perfect couple, too. Obama knows all about promising tax and spending cuts, only to yank the football away after the election. Corzine and Obama: perfect together.