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UPDATED: Christie Calls for Tax Cuts, Education Reform

New Jersey governor discussed his priorities in annual State of the State address.

Governor Christie called for a 10 percent cut in state income taxes and mapped out a comprehensive education and pension reform plan in his second annual State of the State Address Tuesday. 

Making several references to a "New Jersey Comeback," the Republican governor claimed the state has turned a corner from the "dark days of 2010" and touted some of his accomplishments: capping property tax increases, lowering the unemployment rate and scaling back benefits for public workers.

"I will not permit anyone to re-impose the tax raising, overspending, irresponsible ways of our past which led to our dark decade of joblessness in New Jersey," Christie told the senate and assembly members gathered in the Statehouse. 

"Stand strong with me and I will stand up for you.  We are going in the right direction," he said.

Christie began his 40-minute address with a moment of silence for Assemblyman Alex DeCroce, whose untimely death last week prompted the governor to postpone the State of the State in order to mourn his longtime friend and mentor. 

In the coming year, Christie said he would fulfill a promise he made in 2009, that "every New Jerseyan" regardless of income, will see a cut in taxes. The governor said the state is in competition with other countries and other states to bring jobs to its residents.

The tax cuts would enable New Jersey to draw a contrast with neighboring states that have raised income tax rates in recent years.

"In this environment, the best way to compete is to show a different direction.  Let others choose tax increases.  We choose responsible tax cuts to give our overburdened citizens real relief and to help New Jersey grow," he said. 

Christie also called for statewide reform of the education system, including tying objective measurements to tenure, allowing districts to remove its least effective teachers ahead of more junior staff members in the event of layoffs, and giving higher salaries to teachers in failing districts.

He also called for reforming the state's process for authorizing new charter schools and establishing tax credits for low-income students in the state's worst-performing schools.

"These are not radical reforms; they are common sense. They are not rash; they are long overdue. And they are not luxuries which can afford to languish for another six months or another year; they are essential for New Jersey’s success," he said.

The governor credited the legislature with helping the administration reach its goals for the state, peppering the phrase "Jersey strong" throughout his speech.

"Our economy suffers while Washington politicians – in both parties – fiddle. America’s position of strength and leadership around the world deteriorates while our leaders bicker and blame. Over the last two years New Jersey did the exact opposite.  We achieved results because we did it together," Christie said.

Among the steps he proposed to improve the quality of life in New Jersey, Christie said reclaiming the state's inner cities was key. He showcased a bail reform proposal by pointing to a guest sitting in the front row of the balcony in the packed Assembly chamber — Newark woman Cassandra Dock — who approached the governor at a Union City town hall meeting last year and asked him to help reduce violence on Newark's city streets. 

Though he was light on specifics, Christie said laws should change to allow judges to weigh a defendant's potential threat to the community when determining bail. The governor also proposed mandatory substance abuse treatment for non-violent offenders with addiction problems.

"It will send a clear message to those who have fallen victim to the disease of drug abuse – we want to help you, not throw you away.  We will require you to get treatment. Your life has value.  Every one of God’s creations can be redeemed.  Everyone deserves a second chance," Christie said.

Christie ended his address by reiterating that the state is better off now than it was two years ago, before he took office.

"We have climbed out of the hole that was left to us – together.  Now it is time to raise the great flag of the State of New Jersey as high as we can – together."

He closed with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. that touted a message of unity.

"We may have come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now," he said.

Read the full text of Christie's speech here

suz January 18, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Well said Oscar...seems most here do not realize that the "wealthy" are keeping this economy heads above water somewhat. Bottom line, if don't like Christie you will find fault in everything he does...if you do like him, you agree with his policies in trying to fix this state.
FbS January 18, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Chris Cristie for president.. Id vote for him in a minute. Everyone wants changes and he has made the only positive changes in years for our state. Next is the US...Remember folks, positive changes are sometimes painful for a short period. But we will all benefit in the end.
BP January 18, 2012 at 11:32 PM
New Jersey can start to heal and grow when corrupt and arrogant, union-backed Democrats are forced out of office. The poster boys for everything wrong with this country and this state are the twin failures: Obama and Corzine
Jerry Grady January 18, 2012 at 11:41 PM
Glad to see my fellow friends are having the same arguments in NJ that my peers in MI have. Mr. Snyder has done to MI what Mr. Christie has done for NJ, made it a shining star in light of all the BS our federal guys do. Both of these men have done what needed to be done, hold everyone accountable, make sure we increase the overall growth of the state by making it attractive for business to come to the state. If people would just take a moment and understand how Rome failed you will learn that you can only live off the milk of the cow until the cow dries up. Does everyone really believe the current systems work. No, the numbers could not stand 20 years ago when people believed they should be given pensions and health care for life. But again everyone wants to be taken care of by someone else, and we know where that got Rome. Great job Mr. Christie, you make me proud to have my summer home in your state as you have protected my investment and my kids future. (as a side note do any of you know the common thread in the top 10 poorest cities for the past 25 years)
Jerry Grady January 18, 2012 at 11:50 PM
And the cow had no more milk to give. Thus the Rome Empire died and nodody could understand because they thought it was okay that the rich continue to pay for the poor
JB January 19, 2012 at 03:13 AM
Sounds like you wish you could teach, Paul?
Anthony Ruiz January 19, 2012 at 04:26 AM
Don't fool yourselves. This 10% tax cut is not coming for you and me. Christie is pandering to the very well-off. That tax cut is coming in lay-offs and fees that only the middle classs pays for. Like when he was elected and promised no new taxes, however, every NJ commuter saw a 25-30% increase in their monthly ticket costs. Do the math. New Jersey has a 9.1% unemployment rate, which means less money going to the treasury and more benefit spending to help the unemployed survive. Add to that the financial analysts are expecting a rough 2012. Now is not the time to cut taxes and reduce revenue to our state treasury. He's using our future, to support his future for higher office.
Anthony Ruiz January 19, 2012 at 04:49 AM
Blood was spent by our forefathers to obtain freedom. Taxes are the price we pay to maintain it. Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it. An interesting history lesson on US Taxes by a conservative financial website. http://www.businessinsider.com/history-of-tax-rates
sick of taxes January 19, 2012 at 05:55 AM
frank schureman which positive change has christie given us? a 50% tax hike just to get to work? the price of everything delivered by truck including gas skyrocketing because of that alone. the $400 million dollar mistakes filling out a form/ the riding the tea cup ride in disneyworld while nj was crippled for a week by the dec 26th blizzard/ the helicopter rides to junior's game and vowing to veto any 3% tax hike on millionaires. ? frankie you remind me of that movie "invasion of the body snatchers" pod people trying to convince normal people to become pod people too.
Skizma January 19, 2012 at 11:40 AM
so far, you are the only one who's got it right. Property taxes are totally inequitable. The guy who owns the 3 mil home and only pays 20 grand in property taxes, maybe 30 makes out GREAT compared to what he could be paying in income taxes. While the average homeowner pays 6500 for a 350,000 home. Do the math folks. If all were equitable, the 3 mil home taxes should be.......55,000. Nope. All those lovely oceanfront homes don't come close. Now there is where we could find some extra dough to pay for things. Have all the RE taxes go to a general fund, by which schools and towns are paid for. Anything extra the taxpayers pay for, equitably by a town tax. But nope. Not how it works. The wealthy DEMs as well are just a selfish. Sorry DEM's but you guys always spout about the wealthy as if they are all REP's. LOOK at the income of your senators, US rep's....equally balanced between REP and DEM;s. BOTH are filthy rich and out to protect each other. Duhhhhhhhh........
. January 19, 2012 at 11:47 AM
Name a few positive things that this loudmouth has done for New Jersey. I bet you can't count on one hand. Also, if you plan on voting for him, you really should how to spell his name.
FbS January 19, 2012 at 12:08 PM
dramatic changes in public employee pension and health benefits, education reform, the approval of 23 new charter schools, stood up to the unions, reforms designed to curb property tax costs, eliminated the costly auto inspection policy.. That filled up my hand :)
Thomas A. Blasi January 20, 2012 at 02:26 PM
I agree with Bob English 100%.
Ann Brucato January 22, 2012 at 01:31 PM
I am amazed at the stupidty of people who don't care how much the entire cost of living goes up or how much of the gutting of our society goes on... just keep gutting everything until we no longer have a society we can call civilized. Simplistically stupid if yu ask me. You might have your house but everything around you will be in ashes. When that happens don't wonder why.
Portia January 22, 2012 at 01:43 PM
"capping property tax increases" - Clearly, Governor Christie does not live in Brick!
disgusted homeowner January 22, 2012 at 03:11 PM
The purpose of the Corzine toll hike was to fund the building of the new tunnel project to New York. Since Gov. Christie cancelled the project entirely, one would think a TOLL HIKE ROLLBACK would be appropriate. How about it Gov????
disgusted homeowner January 22, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Bottom line is the Gov. has made many changes regarding public employees and the state's finances which on paper would lower EVERYONE'S PROPERTY TAX BILLS!!! However those savings HAVE NOT trickled to our property tax bills. My property tax bills continue to rise by hundreds of dollars every year. Where are these supposed savings going to ?????? That's the $64,000 question........
Joshua Berry January 22, 2012 at 03:51 PM
One of my lessons tilting at windmills at the local livel is the only real remedy citizens have to redress against government abuse is the court system. Why not find a lawyer looking for some publicity and sue the Turnpike Authority (or whatever that are called)?
Winston January 22, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Anthony enough of the Democrat "reelect Obama" talking points. The link you posted is to a left wing Democrat supporter and loon. Face the facts lower taxes solve two BIG problems = more money for people to spend and less money for policians to waste.
suz January 22, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Well said...
Stan Walker January 22, 2012 at 10:12 PM
Typical far-left winged democrat candor!!
Stan Walker January 22, 2012 at 10:13 PM
. . . and George Bush is no longer our President.
Joe January 23, 2012 at 11:04 PM
It's Christie Whitman reincarnated as a man!
Donald J Borst January 24, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Politics is the profession to be in today. They all make out like bandits and write their own tickets, behind closed doors. The taxpayers get to vote on nothing that affects them. They make bunches of promises that they know they are unable to keep. Christie knew of the new 1/1/2012 turnpike and GSP toll increases on the books from LOSER Corzine and did NOTHING to stop or reduce them. They all continue to spend more than they take in. The taxpayer is the victim and the bottomless pit. So they think.
Spooner January 24, 2012 at 10:40 PM
...they Christie and the Democrats just eliminated voting on school budgets. . . that was required by law. . .the best part of the bill is the introduction: "Reform Measure Will Allow Voters to Take Control of Local Finances, Save Money" What double talk!
Donald J Borst January 26, 2012 at 08:05 PM
I take heart in the fact that the majority the respondents feel as I do.Christie is just another POLITICIAN. They can all dish out a bunch of hollow promises and not have to fulfill a one of them, They are all cut from the same mold, The only people who matter to them are themselves. They will promise anything to protect their sweet little positions and power. When was the last time any of them mentioned their costituency? It seems to be a dirty word to them. Just remember all of the liars at election time folks. Thank you all.
Mr. ? January 26, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Christie reform education?... you mean be putting partisan political control in schools, by allowing take over with November elections? Thereby raising taxes through pay to play (not kids sports) when giving out those lucrative professional contracts? You mean allowing school budgets under the 2% cap to be automatically approved with out any vote. Oh, that will save taxes! Not! Citizens who believe that are idiots. Your taxes will go up drastically! First the automatic 2% plus all the bonding debt service, emergency appropriations, health and pension obligations maybe another 3%. You will be lucking to escape Christie's call for lower taxes with that 5% or more increase. Puke! Gag! First post here...will leave now....please turn off the lights .
Beachy Keen January 26, 2012 at 09:46 PM
@Donald, I don't know if I would say that I take heart in that others are as disgusted as I am but I wonder why most on here seem to think the same but yet this continues to go on as if money is washing up on the beaches. You are correct, they are all liars and we can't trust them especially Christie.
Mrs. G. March 11, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Jerry - the NJ comeback is a joke. Have you checked your property value lately? Have you noticed that the country has an 8.3% unemployment rate while NJ has a 9% rate? Have you gotten your property tax bill for the year - seen any relief? Our loudmouth governor makes me hide my head in shame - he does not represent all of NJ.
Sean Conneamhe March 11, 2012 at 04:50 PM
"Ron Paul for President."


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