(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, one of the darlings of the Tea Party, had an interesting rhetorical trope in his speech today. He said he wouldn't call for un-funded tax cuts...because that could endanger the state's transportation infrastructure. Such an interesting series of events: 1) Kill the ARC tunnel because of fears of cost overruns. 2) Get kudos from both the Tea Party and NJ Voters for so doing 3) Re-purpose ARC money for general transportation use 4) Take a stand against unfunded tax cuts. Got all that?
Here's what he says: "I also last week outlined needed plans for continuing to invest in New Jersey’s transportation infrastructure— which we need to be world-class for both jobs and competitiveness. But if we are to fund these investments in the future, we have to control the costs in other programs."
"We need to make cuts in programs that have been shown not to work in order to make investments that will build a more productive tomorrow. Some people say that getting spending under control and reforming the budget is the third rail of politics.
Well, I am here to tell you that I am not afraid to touch it— because its been said, opportunity expands in proportion to one’s courage.
"So I ask you to join me in cutting the popular in order to fund the necessary.
And I will go further than that.
"It is one thing to just say no to higher taxes after decades of tax increases— 115 in the last 10 years alone. If New Jersey is to be a home for growth, we need to reform the taxes we place on business and individuals and begin to roll them back.
So we need comprehensive tax reform -- and by that I mean changes that are considered together, not in a piecemeal approach. In my budget next month, I will propose the initial installment of such a package. But let's be clear: we will not put in place tax cuts that we can’t pay for."
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