In a move sure to go over well with constituents already taxed to the hill, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine said he would not rule out tax increases if re-elected to his second term in office. Republican candidate Chris Christie, on the other hand, vowed to make cuts if elected.
The two met in the first televised debate of the New Jersey gubernatorial race on Thursday, October 1st.
Report from Bloomberg:
Oct. 2 (Bloomberg) — New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine said he wouldn’t rule out tax increases if re-elected, while his Republican challenger Christopher Christie said he would focus on cutting spending, as the two clashed last night in the first televised debate of the state’s gubernatorial campaign.
Corzine said raising taxes would be a “last resort” to balance the budget, and proposed encouraging towns and cities to merge and share services to control the state’s highest-in-the- nation property taxes. Christie said he would move future state workers, excluding police officers, into 401(k)-style defined contribution plans and reduce overtime.
The governor, a Democrat who is trailing Christie in opinion polls amid voter anger over New Jersey’s finances, said he has reduced the size of state government, trimming the workforce by 8,400 positions. Christie, former U.S. attorney for New Jersey, said Corzine raised taxes and fees by $9 billion, and accused the incumbent of mismanaging the state.
“New Jersey is in a crisis,” Christie said in the 90- minute debate. “We’re in a crisis because we tax too much, because we spend too much and because we borrow too much. What we need to do is reduce spending in this state. Then we need to cut taxes for individuals and small businesses.”
Corzine, the only U.S. governor seeking re-election this year, said the state has to “take the steps necessary to meet our constitutional responsibilities.”
“You have to balance the budget, that’s a requirement,” said Corzine, former co-chairman of Goldman, Sachs & Co.. “It’s what the constitution says and you can’t walk away from it.”
Christie led Corzine, 43 percent to 39 percent, in a Quinnipiac University opinion poll released Sept. 30; his lead over Corzine had been as great as 10 percentage points in a Sept. 1 survey. The latest poll of 1,188 likely voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.
The debate was the first of two sanctioned by the state’s Election Law Enforcement Commission. The next one will be held on Oct. 16.
If I find some video clips of the debate I will post and update. So far nothing has surfaced but if you find any, please leave them in the comments.