New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) wasn’t kidding when he claimed he would veto the so-called “millionaire’s tax” bill. Moments after the Senate passed the bill on a 46-32 vote, Senate President Steve Sweeney walked the bill down to Gov. Christie, who was waiting with his veto pen. Christie vetoed the bills immediately.
Christie’s official veto statement stressed his opposition to more taxes at the top:
While I have little doubt that the sponsors and supporters of this bill sincerely believe that the state can tax its way out of this financial crisis, I believe that this bill does nothing more than repeat the failed, irresponsible and unsustainable fiscal policies of the past. Now is not the time for more of the same. Ultimately, another tax increase will punish the state’s struggling small businesses and set our economy further back from recovery.
Under the bill, New Jersey millionaires would be paying the same amount of taxes in 2010 as they did in 2009. Former Governor Jon Corzine (D) had imposed the one-year tax increase on the state’s highest wage earners to boost revenues. Without additional legislative action, the increase was slated to disappear – and the revenue along with it. By reviving the tax, the legislature hoped to bring in $637 million for this fiscal year. With the veto, that won’t happen. The Democrats claim that means higher taxes for other taxpayers; the Republicans claim that the state needs to make spending cuts. Both are unpopular with voters.
To override the governor’s veto, Democrats would need a two-thirds majority in both houses. Plain speak: won’t happen.