Sean Hannity brought on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to discuss his great "Republican victory" standing up for the millionaires in his state. Although Christie would not say how many jobs he thought it would create, he explained to Hannity why he thought taking a page right out of Ronald Reagan's play book and following his policy of trickle-down economics was going to mean more jobs for his state.
Somehow Christie and Hannity failed to bring up what parts of the New Jersey budget he was willing to cut to keep those tax cuts for millionaires in place. Imagine that? No mention of the students who walked out to protest his sweeping state aid cuts in education. And no mention of how he doesn't mind raising taxes on senior citizens.
Late last month, Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) followed through on his threat to veto a millionaire’s tax passed by the state legislature. The bill would have implemented a surcharge on income above $1 million, raising $635 million to fund property tax relief for senior citizens and the disabled (among other programs).
New Jersey Democrats are planning to hold a vote to override Christie’s veto today, but lockstep opposition from the state’s Republicans is rendering success unlikely. As the Newark Star-Ledger reported, “Republican leaders have vowed not a single GOP vote will flip.”
The end result of Christie’s veto, if it is not overridden, will be to increase taxes on seniors while cutting them for the wealthy. In fact, according to the state’s nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services, “a retired couple living on a fixed income of $40,000 would see an increase of $1,320 in taxes under the governor’s plan while a family making $1.2 million would receive a tax cut of $11,598.”
As Citizens for Tax Justice added, “there is glaring hypocrisy in Christie using his anti-tax pledge to justify his veto of the millionaire’s tax”.
And no mention of course of how his budget cuts are undermining the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act:
While states face tough decisions in cutting crucial services, some right-wing governors are slashing vital services for more vulnerable constituents while protecting the wealthy ones. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) called for "layoffs of 1,300 state workers, closings of state psychiatric institutions, an $820 million cut in aid to public schools" and a sharp cut in New Jersey Transit. Christie defends the cuts on the middle class, the poor, and schoolchildren as "shared sacrifice and fairness." However, when the state legislature asked for such a "sacrifice" via a tax on residents making over $1 million, Christie vetoed the legislation as an "irresponsible" mistake "of raising taxes on the highest taxed people in the nation." While the tax would've raised $635 million to fund public services for senior citizens and the disabled, his override will "increase taxes on seniors while cutting them for the wealthy." He is also backing a cap on property taxes that would force the state to further slash vital services.
As Ryan McNeely noted this is Why Conservatives Love Chris Christie:
The conservative movement is enamored with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, calling him the next Reagan and suggesting that he run for President in 2012. And in fact, though former Gov. Corzine was very unpopular, Christie managed to pick up the governorship of my home state while maintaining orthodox conservative views — no small feat in a state that went for Barack Obama by over 15 points.
So why do conservatives have Christie-mania? Probably because he puts the interests of multi-millionaires ahead of the well-being of low-income seniors.
Hannity just proved his point during this interview, begging him to think about running for President.
Transcript below the fold.
SEAN HANNITY: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is turning heads and garnering national attention. He is taking on the special interests, he's standing up to the unions, and he's doing something very rare in politics these days.
He's actually following through on the promises he's made on the campaign trail that helped get him elected. And he now joins me in studio.
Governor, welcome back to the show.
GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-N.J.: Great to be here, Sean.
HANNITY: Wow, the skin — Jon Corzine, eat your heart out.
CHRISTIE: We've lost a little weight.
HANNITY: He took some shots at you at the campaign that was pretty cheap as far as I was concerned.
CHRISTIE: It was pretty cheap and he wouldn't even admit that he was doing it. But that's OK. And now — I've got four kids between seven and 16, so it's time for me to get in shape. I've got to be there for them.
HANNITY: All right, well, first of all, congratulations. And as you have declared, the bluest of blue states, you achieved what many thought were impossible. And that is a Republican victory. You ran on fiscal responsibility, on strong leadership, on taking on unions.
How did you pull it off?
CHRISTIE: Well, listen, I think people in New Jersey were just fed up with the idea of huge government, big taxes, the government was nonresponsive to them, it wasn't transparent.
And in the end, we raised taxes 115 times in the eight years that the Democrats were running New Jersey. And I think people just said they had had enough and they wanted to give me a chance to go do it.
HANNITY: You know, Governor, I couldn't believe this, and I've referred to it often. Both here and on my radio show. Seventy billion dollars, you talk about all those tax increases. Seventy billion dollars of wealth. Meaning people that had money that decided to leave the state of New Jersey because taxes were too high.
You think you're able to stop that?
CHRISTIE: I think we are. We've done some things right away. We vetoed a tax on millionaires in New Jersey because we can't drive — continue to drive that wealth out of New Jersey. We cut the corporate business tax by nearly $100 million in this budget while balancing the $11 billion budget deficit.
We can stop it. People don't want to leave New Jersey. They love the state. But if we're going to continue to keep our hands in their pocket well, then they're going to leave and go some place where they won't.
HANNITY: You know, this is what's interesting here because you have used your veto pen. You have an $11 billion dollar deficit. You are proud of the fact and you're saying I'm not going to raise taxes.
You resisted a massive push by the legislature of New Jersey to put a tax on millionaires. And now you're calling all these legislators back into session tomorrow, heading into a holiday weekend. You're not a very popular guy in Trenton.
CHRISTIE: Well, no, but — it makes me more popular around the state of New Jersey because they know Trenton is broken and it needed to be shaken up. And they want their property taxes capped. And we're calling them in to a special session to say let's put a 2.5 percent cap on property taxes in New Jersey which already the highest property taxes in America.
HANNITY: Are you prepared to keep them there over the Fourth of July?
CHRISTIE: I'm prepared to keep them there as long as I need to in order to make sure we get the job done.
HANNITY: You know, look, $70 billion wealth leaving, $11 billion budget deficit. All right? So — there's always those people that make the argument that the only way that you're going to increase revenues is to increase taxes or increase fees.
You resist that. So then the question is — and I'm a supply-sider, but I want you to explain it in your words. How do you increase revenues? How do you close that budget gap if you can't raise taxes?
CHRISTIE: Well, it's pretty simple. The more people you have paying taxes even at a lower rate, the more money you're going to get. Right now we have 9.7 percent of our people unemployed, we have businesses leaving the state.
We're going to set up an entrepreneurial society in New Jersey. Encourage people to come and risk capital there, create jobs. When that unemployment rate goes down and we get more people working we're going to have more and more revenues in the state.
That's the way it works. The private sector is funding the public sector. We've now turned it upside down. The public sector is pulling more, more money out while the private sector is going down. We've got to reverse that.
HANNITY: All right, so how do you do that in an atmosphere or when you have one party rule in Washington, D.C., Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid? They have now in less than two years accumulated $3 trillion additional dollars in debt. $3 trillion in two years in terms of a deficit and deficit spending that doesn't even include, Governor, health care.
So you kind of have the federal government working against you.
HANNITY: Because there's not a lot of economic growth going on nationally. Do you — what do you predicting you'll be able to do? When Reagan cut taxes he created 20 million new jobs. What do you predict over time is going to happen in New Jersey?
CHRISTIE: I don't know, but what we're going to do is I think in some ways that helps us because we're creating an oasis in New Jersey. In a desert of growing government, growing taxes, we're going to say you want to stay in America, you want to be some place that gets it, that's lowering taxes and shrinking the size of government? Come to New Jersey.
And that's the way we're going to do it. How many jobs it's going to translate into, Sean? I don't know, because you're right. A lot of it is going to depend on what happens nationally. But whatever economic growth we're going to have in America, I want it happening in New Jersey.
HANNITY: All right, let me ask you a couple of questions. There's a Politico article that came out on you and some conservatives on some of the blogs. There's some chatter. Because you seemed to imply — this is my reading. You didn't say it. But you seemed to imply that you would support some type of comprehensive immigration reform.
In the minds of conservatives like myself, uh-oh, alarm bells go off. Does that mean you support amnesty? You know you're talking about, quote, "common sense solutions." You're not — not having a rigid ideology. What did you mean by that?
CHRISTIE: What I meant by that is that we need the federal government to deal with this problem. The question was, what can the state of New Jersey do to fix this problem? And my answer was, the state of New Jersey can do very little to fix this problem.
We're not a border state. We can do very little to fix the problem. The federal government has to get in. They have to secure our borders. And they have to set up common sense rules to give people a pathway to citizenship.
And what I mean by that is, people who enter here legally have to be given a pathway to become citizens.
HANNITY: What about the people that entered illegally?
CHRISTIE: Well, you know, my view is they need to get to the back of the line.
HANNITY: And maybe go back to where they —
CHRISTIE: If practical. I mean, if practical. I mean I don't think that you're going to be able to say every person who's in this country illegally is going to go back to the country of origin. That's not going to happen.
HANNITY: All right.
CHRISTIE: But I don't think, Sean, that people who are here illegally should be able to cut the line in front of people who are doing the process the right way.
HANNITY: All right, it was interesting. As you've probably read the article and a lot of people spun a little bit differently than the way you're explaining it now.
CHRISTIE: But you know, they always — it's only a snippet of the answer.
CHRISTIE: And, you know, I'm very clear that I'm not somebody who's for amnesty.
HANNITY: All right. Last question because the only thing I might have a little disagreement with you on because I love what you're doing, honestly, economically. And I think this is going to become the model of a lot of states around the country.
If it doesn't happen in the state of New York, the state of New York, I think, risks bankruptcy. I think that's how severe it is.
CHRISTIE: I agree.
HANNITY: And I live in the state of New York. And I got to tell you, you can't tax people any more without chasing them all to Florida or a state where they don't have income taxes
CHRISTIE: We'll take you in New Jersey when we start lowering taxes, Sean. Got a lot of nice places there.
HANNITY: Listen, I'm open, I really am. I'm not kidding. And I'm New York born, bred and raised.
Here's my question. When it comes to offshore oil drilling you took a pretty strong stand against it. Wouldn't that be good to become energy independent? If we have the resources and off the coast — the eastern seaboard or the coast of California to drill, why would you be against it?
CHRISTIE: Well, my question was about New Jersey.
CHRISTIE: OK? And what I said was no one has ever shown me any studies or anything that says that there are any type of significant oil reserves off the coast of New Jersey.
And so I don't want people to start there exploring for the heck of it. And so my — what I said was, when there is no discernible economic advantage, which there would be if there were a lot, and there's risks to offshore drilling as we've seen, then when you balance those two — now it's different in the Gulf because there is a discernible economic interest there.
HANNITY: You know, I'm just not going to read any more in the media about you because every time you explain it, that's all right, I'm fine with your explanation.
CHRISTIE: I'm the governor of New Jersey and that's what I'm talking about, New Jersey and what's happening there.
HANNITY: You know — I saw Cavuto, he's pressing you. You won't even consider the idea of maybe being — running for president one day?
HANNITY: Won't even consider it.
HANNITY: But your mind is open, maybe it will change.
CHRISTIE: Listen. You know what?
HANNITY: I'm giving you a hard time.
HANNITY: Don't answer my stupid question.
CHRISTIE: But, you know, listen, you met my wife tonight.
CHRISTIE: Convince her.
HANNITY: Miss Christie, do you have a moment? Come on over.
All right. Good to see you, Governor. Best of luck honestly in turning the state around. We wish you the best.
CHRISTIE: Thank you. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
HANNITY: Appreciate it.
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