Friday, May 21, 2010
Christie Ain't Old Hickory
"With Rush Limbaugh fawning over him on talk radio and Fred Barnes comparing him to Ronald Reagan, New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie [CC] is being hailed as a conservative hero. ... In 1993 Christie Whitman, like [CC] in 2009, won the Republican nomination for governor by tacking to the right in the primary. ... But here the comparison gets interesting. Ms. Whitman actually cut state income taxes across the board--before losing favor with conservatives thanks to her spending policies and judicial picks. ... The most important political issue in New Jersey--the one that drives debates about income taxes, property taxes, and local government power--is education. The core of the problem is a string of state Supreme Court decisions, the most sweeping of which were issued by judges Ms. Whitman put on the court. ... Suburban homeowners pay income taxes to support the urban schools while also paying some of the highest property taxes in the country to support local schools. ... Four years ago, the Abbott districts were receiving 56% of the income tax money that had been meant to relieve local property taxes, while the suburban districts got 44%. Under [CC's] budget for next year, that 56% rises to 60%. The Abbott districts get about $4.8 billion in aid, while the other 500-plus other districts must split up $3.2 billion. Thus Asbury Park will receive $28,232 per-pupil from the state next year, while Mendham, the governor's hometown, will get $2.32 per pupil. ... [CC's] fortunes will rise and fall depending on whether he can take back control of school funding from the courts and give suburban towns an equal share of state aid. But if taxes continue to rise, his prospects will fall--no matter how much he pleases commentators who don't pay New Jersey property taxes", Paul Munshine at the WSJ, 1 May 2010, link:
Hey, Gov. Perry, my Gov. Perry. You want to win 2012's presidential election? Kick Texas Supreme Court in the keesta and refuse to enforce our "Robin Hood" funding rules. The problem is not New Jersey's judges. It's the governor not telling the judges loudly and clearly, "You do not set tax or spending policies. They are politicial decisions. I will ignore your rulings and begin impeachment proceedings against all of you who supported this. I am addressing a joint session of New Jersey's legislature 9:00 AM tomorrow morning. And have a nice day". Support a VAT? Do you believe a VAT will lower your income taxes? Do you want to buy this nice bridge I have over the East River? It's just $10 billion. Cheap. See also my 22 November 2009 post: http://skepticaltexascpa.blogspot.com/2009/11/christies-potential-andrew-jackson.html.