Governor Christie is betting that people don’t agree with the governments they elected and therefore will go along with his proposal to cap property tax increases at 2.5% each year. He may be right, but what he’s really doing is passing the buck and offloading responsibility. Christie is cynically taking praise for lowering taxes while forcing local governments to make the tough choices on spending.
He’s basically saying, “I’m cutting your taxes but I will provide NO leadership on where you can and should cut spending. I want you to like me for saving you money and for you to hate your local officials for denying you services.” Christie is taking an easy victory lap while passing the responsibility and blame associated with leadership on to local governments.
It’s just like he’s doing with the budget. He says he won’t sign a budget that raises taxes, even though his budget has tax, fee and surcharge increases contained in it. But in addition to what is in the budget, he cuts funding at all levels forcing local governments to either make drastic cuts or take the hit which he’s unwilling to take himself.
Now as the truth comes out, Christie is starting to say that the cap will force consolidation. Of course it will, because he’s starving the beast without taking responsibility for the fact that Grandma Bess will be upset when the trash isn’t picked up by the local garbage truck. But you notice he isn’t pushing legislation to do that directly, because then he would have to take some blame when people are upset.
For all the talk of less government regulation and mandates, here you have the Governor dictating what local boroughs and townships can tax – isn’t this just another unfunded Trenton mandate? Christie is hiding all the downside to his cap plan, setting up local government to eat all the consequences. That’s Christie leadership.