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Poll: Is Christie's Budget Good for New Jersey -- Or Is It Good for Nothing?

Does a sizable pension payment and flat taxes add up to a budget you can live with?

Gov. Chris Christie, a second-term Republican, put forward his seventh state budget earlier this week, a $34.8 billion spending plan that increases funding for education and public-employee pensions and also pads the reserve account.

The new budget -- which is now subject to a review by lawmakers -- calls for a modest 3 percent increase in spending, and it includes no new taxes or tax increases. It also holds funding for municipal aid, property-tax relief, and local school districts essentially flat. And there’s no new borrowing or other revenue budgeted for a state Transportation Trust Fund that is on course to run out of money by June 30.

What do you think?

  • This budget is a disappointment because it is too extravagant. A $1 billion increase in spending at the state level is inexcusable given how high taxes in New Jersey already are. Where is the estate-tax cut Christie talked about in his State of the State address? What about a repeal of the inheritance tax as well? Spending really should be held flat or even reduced.

  • This is a good budget and the Legislature should move quickly to adopt it this spring. Christie deserves credit for again holding the line on tax increases and allowing only modest spending growth. The increased funding for the pension system also shows he’s serious about addressing what is one of the state’s biggest fiscal challenges.

  • There’s a lot to like for Democrats in this budget, despite Christie’s at times harsh rhetoric, and they should work with him to pass it. More than $13 billion in funding for education and a record $1.86 billion state pension contribution. His budget also continues an increase of the Earned Income Tax Credit, providing a $210 boost for the average working family that qualifies for it. Plus, Christie didn’t write into the budget a repeal of the estate tax, which would really only help the wealthy in New Jersey.

  • How can Christie propose a budget that is completely blind to a looming crisis in state transportation funding? Where’s the leadership from a governor who was just promoting his leadership abilities as a 2016 presidential candidate? Instead, his administration keeps hinting that he wants to shift the burden of coming up with a new funding plan entirely onto the Legislature. Get to work!

  • Democrats who control the Legislature need to outright reject this budget and draft their own. There’s no revenue from a higher tax on millionaires, and Christie continues to divert money from clean-energy accounts and many other dedicated funds. There’s also a cut in environmental spending, no increase in the amount of state dollars going to support higher education, but a series of costly business-tax cuts remain in place. This budget simply doesn’t line up with the priorities of most state residents.

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