Chris Christie Cites Tax Foundation on “Meet the Press”

November 8, 2010

New Jersey Governor and YouTube sensation Chris Christie made an appearance on “Meet the Press” yesterday, discussing his efforts to lower taxes and revive the economy of the Garden State. Along the way, he name-dropped the Tax Foundation while citing the fact that New Jersey ranks as the most heavily taxed state in the nation:

Host David Gregory: How do you deal with [having high taxes across the board] as a Republican governor of New Jersey?

Gov. Christie: Well, first you say, “No more.” And the Democrats sent me an extension of the millionaires’ tax that would have not only hit individuals but small business in New Jersey, and I vetoed it. And I ‘m not going to increase taxes on the state that the Tax Foundation has said is the highest burdened tax state in America, especially if you look at our unemployment rate, David, ours is higher than any state in our region. The reason is, over the last eight years under Corzine and McGreevey, we raised taxes and fees 115 times. We put a wet blanket on the economy of New Jersey, and that’s why our people are still out of work disproportionately to everybody else in the region. New York is a point lower. Pennsylvania is more than a point lower. I mean, we, you know, we did this to ourselves with all these increased taxes.

Christie was referencing the Tax Foundation’s study on state-by-state tax burdens, authored by Senior Economist Gerald Prante. As the Governor noted, in 2008 New Jersey residents paid 11.8% of their income to state-local governments, more than the residents of any other state. The residents of New Jersey’s neighbors New York and Connecticut were also highly taxed, while perennial low-tax champions Wyoming, Nevada and Alaska had the lightest burdens.

There are signs of tax progress, though. In the recently-released 2011 State Business Tax Climate Index, New Jersey finally moved out of its last-place ranking on that list, in part due to Christie’s veto of the millionaires’ tax he mentioned during his interview. While it still ranks a pretty dismal 48 out of 50, it proves that improvement is possible, even in a state with a tax policy legacy as historically abysmal as New Jersey’s.

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