Too bad he’s rushing from the frying pan into the fire.
Today we find out – late in the day with the governor hot-footing it to a plane, that tax collections for the first two months of this budget year fell short – way short – of Gov. Christie’s rosy revenue projections. You knew that was coming. And you knew that’s why Christie was late providing the figures. In direct violation of his own executive order, by the way.
Boys and girls, this is what you call a news dump. Bad news immediately followed by a quick exit. Stage right, as always.
How bad is this? Pretty bad or Christie wouldn’t have delayed the painful news until he could get out of here. For months, Chris Christie has been pumping his empty
Mission Accomplished Jersey Comeback message, thumping the Good News like a street preacher crossed with a carnival barker crossed with a pit bull. Until recently, when numbers began falling noisily off cliffs, the press has largely allowed him to get away with it, with far more ink for Christie’s brash, attractive personality and far less for the hard questions that finally everybody’s asking this guy.
Christie has finally swapped out his (#awkward) Jersey Comeback banner from his taxpayer-funded
Town Halls political rallies, in favor of the (equally ridiculous) Middle Class Reform Agenda theme. But this is how we find out if we actually get that tax cut Christie promised (stamping his foot for emphasis as the Legislature acted as the grownups in the room and tied it to revenue levels that would show we could actually afford it). Jarrett Renshaw at the Ledger gives you the numbers:
The state collected $1.9 billion in revenue in July and August, 4.9 percent less than the $2.03 billion Christie projected and less than 1 percent lower than the state collected over the same two-month stretch last year.The lower-than-expected collections included the top two major revenue categories of income and sales taxes, which were off by 3.9 and 6.2 percent, respectively.
Christie is banking on robust growth of about 8.2 percent in revenues in the current $31.7 billion budget to cover increased pension costs, additional education spending and what he hopes is the first phase of an across-the-board income tax cut. Democrats are delaying a decision on the tax cuts to see if Christie hits his targets.
Of course, still spinning, Christie state Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff tried to put a pretty face on it: “Income tax and corporation business taxes are showing welcome strength. Both July and August income tax were strong, and August even beat the pre-recession results of Fiscal 2008.”
Well, doesn’t that make you feel better, kids? No? Right. The Legislature’s non-partisan budget officer (who Christie always gets so hot and bothered about) today told the Assembly Budget Committee that Christie will now have to outpace his already unrealistically optimistic (my words) budget projections. And that’s to cover the $254 million revenue shortfall in Christie’s last budget (ending in June), which gave us lower-than-expected baseline figures that served as the foundation of the current budget.
No wonder Christie lit outta here. And you know where he went, right? Yeah. Out to Iowa to wallow with an unpatriotic, backward Republican he should be ashamed to be seen with. I said should. More on him later, boys and girls.