Christie Touts 'Jersey Comeback' at Monmouth Town Hall
Governor speaks to standing room only audience in Ocean Township gymnasium.
Gov. Chris Christie stopped in Ocean Township on Tuesday for a town hall meeting with hundreds of Monmouth County residents where he touted the "Jersey Comeback" and announced that state income taxpayers would see relief in 2012.
Christie, before a standing-room-only audience of more than 500 at the Township of Ocean Community Gym, said that State Senate President Stephen Sweeney earlier Tuesday had introduced a bill to give every state income taxpayer a 10 percent credit.
While the legislation doesn't exactly mimic Christie's proposal of an across the board 10 percent income tax cut, the governor said that the real achievement was getting Democratic legislators to discuss how, not if, to cut taxes in the state.
The same Democratic Party, Christie said, raised taxes 15 times the previous eight years before he took office.
"We have turned Trenton upside down, absolutely upside down," Christie said of the senate president's tax cut proposal.
Christie said his proposal would cut income taxes by 10 percent over the next three years, while Sweeney's proposal would provide taxpayers with a 10 percent income tax credit over the next four years.
"I cut rates, (Sweeney) gives you a credit. Looks like we got some place to work here," Christie said. "Here's the one thing I know for sure: you're going to get tax relief in 2012 because we're now agreeing on cutting taxes in Trenton."
But the one "fly in the ointment," Christie said, was that the Assembly Democrats on Tuesday had introduced legislation to raise taxes.
However, Christie said that he was convinced that lawmakers could find a compromise.
"Nobody gets everything that they want," Christie said. "But there is a place for us to begin a conversation."
Christie also touted the state's recovery, which he has dubbed "The Jersey Comeback."
The state created more private sector jobs in 2011 than it had since 2000, Christie said.
Since the governor took office, more than 60,000 people have been put back to work, he added.
Christie spent roughly 20 minutes delivering his speech before turning the forum over to the audience for another hour.
The governor answered questions on topics ranging from tort reform and the state health benefit plan, to campaign finance and property tax reform.
And, of course, Christie had to answer whether or not he'd accept an invite to run as the Republican vice presidential candidate alongside GOP hopeful Mitt Romney.
"I love this job and I like New Jersey very much," Christie said to the young boy who asked the question. "If you have to make an absolute prediction in school, you can predict to people that Chris Christie is going to be governor of New Jersey in January of 2013."