The future of New Jersey’s economic development is now in doubt after the state’s governor signed a sweeping tax-and-regulatory overhaul package that would slash taxes and other taxes for corporations, eliminate the state income tax, and allow companies to pass profits on to their workers.
Christie, a Republican, has promised to reduce New Jersey state and local taxes to a level comparable to other states, a move that could help boost his approval ratings.
Christie’s deal with New Jersey residents, though, would do more than just lower taxes.
It would give Christie a bigger tax base to tap into for future tax cuts.
The governor, whose administration is under scrutiny for its handling of Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, also signed a new law allowing the state to issue up to $50 million in bond financing in his name, with up to 20% going to local governments.
The move could provide an opening for Christie to raise taxes to pay for a new gas pipeline and other infrastructure investments.
The state’s new tax-code overhaul could help Christie with his political base.
The new law will make New Jersey the second state to legalize marijuana, after Colorado, and the first to make medical marijuana legal.
It will also help Christie, who has already come under fire for his handling of the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died of a drug overdose in July after he was put in a chokehold by a police officer.
Christie has also faced criticism for a controversial $1.8 billion tax break for a casino resort in Atlantic City.
The bill also requires casinos to hold back more money from gaming profits to pay down debts.
Christie said he would consider revising the casino tax break later this year, but said at a Tuesday news conference that he would not pursue it in the near term.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, center, and his wife, Christine, sign an executive order during the annual state-of-the-state address at the Statehouse in Trenton, New Jersey, Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2021.
Christie also signed into law legislation expanding the state sales tax credit to cover up to 2% of a retailer’s sales price, a change that would allow for some retailers to qualify for up to 5% of their retail sales at up to 10% tax rates.
Christie is also likely to face scrutiny over his handling the crisis in New Jersey following Hurricane Sandy, when more than 200,000 homes were damaged or destroyed in the storm.
Christie signed a $1 billion disaster aid package for the state in the middle of the storm, but some lawmakers questioned whether he could have done more in the wake of the disaster.
He also cut the state pension program, which is funded largely by New Jerseyans, from $1,600 per year to $1-1.5 million per year.
Christie later signed a second $1 million package, which he has touted as an attempt to offset the loss of $250 million in state revenues due to the storm in 2020.
Christie says the bill he signed Monday will help New Jersey rebuild after Hurricane Sandy.
Christie on Tuesday said he expects the state will eventually recover $1 trillion from its debts and will continue to provide emergency aid to New Jersey for years to come.
New York Gov.
Andrew Cuomo, right, greets New Jersey Gov.
Chris Christie after a joint press conference at the New York Statehouse, Wednesday, Jan, 25, 2020.
Cuomo said New Jersey would take $5 billion of the $10 billion in emergency aid in 2019, and said the state would be reimbursed by New York and other states for any tax relief received.
He said Christie’s new legislation would make New York the first state to legally legalize medical marijuana.
Christie spokesman Adam Borowski told The Associated Press the governor has been “delighted” by the package, saying the legislation will help the state recover from the storm and restore a healthy economy.
New Yorkers have expressed skepticism about Christie’s handling of New York’s recovery, which has been mired in a state of economic stagnation.
Cuomo told reporters last week that he believes Christie has the political will to get things done in New York, adding that the governor’s budget plan will create jobs and create thousands of new jobs.
New Yorker President Bill de Blasio speaks at the United Nations General Assembly in New Orleans, Tuesday May 23, 2020, as New York Mayor Bill deBlasio speaks during a news conference to unveil the New Yorker Declaration of Independence.
Cuomo’s office said the governor will meet with New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio on Thursday to discuss his plans for the city’s recovery.
Christie will also be meeting with the governors of New Hampshire, Minnesota, Montana, Arizona, Hawaii, Vermont and North Dakota.
De Blasio is scheduled to visit New York next week, where he will meet New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and other top officials.
Cuomo and De Blasio were among several governors who announced Tuesday that they would visit New Jersey on Wednesday to see how the state is doing.