Rob Duffey is spokesman for Better Choices for New Jersey, a coalition of more than 85 student, parent, labor, environment and faith-based organizations, including DFA-NJ, which several of us at Blue Jersey are involved in. I took the liberty of adding some pictures from yesterday’s pre-budget statehouse rally.
Today Chris Christie made it clear that he intends to double down on the policies that have failed New Jersey’s working families for the last two years.
The centerpiece of the Governor’s speech – and of his third budget – is a ten percent across the board income tax to be phased in over three years. He calls this tax fairness, but the truth is that like most of his policies, it’s ultimately a plan by and for the top 1%.
In the end, $400 million of that $1.1 billion tax cut will go to the top 1% of taxpayers. CEOs and hedge fund managers will get enough of money to pay for fancy dinners, and maybe even fly out to the Cayman Islands to check on the rest of their offshore assets. The average working family, meanwhile, will get about $2 a week.
None of this should be a surprise. Since his first day in office Chris Christie has been working hard to prove that he is the One Percent’s man in Trenton. Whether it’s failing to renew the one year surcharge on people making $400,000 per year, cutting corporate income taxes by 4% or doling out over $1.2 billion in subsidies to big banks, casinos, pharmaceutical and insurance companies and – coming soon – the mall formerly known as Xanadu, Christie has taken every opportunity to protect the pocketbooks of the very wealthiest in the state.
And we all know the cost. Larger class sizes, higher crime, and skyrocketing property taxes, tuition, tolls, transit fares, and fees of every kind. Chris Christie’s policies have forced working families around the state to pay more for less while the gap between the rich and poor continues to widen and the state lags behind the rest of the nation in the economic recovery.
Occupy has brought income inequality to the forefront of our national debate, and Chris Christie has put New Jersey right on the front lines. For the next five months there needs to be a drumbeat of opposition to this latest scheme to funnel even more money to the 1% at the expense of the 99%.
That’s why today dozens of New Jerseyans came to the statehouse to protest Governor Christie’s latest, lamest giveaway to the 1%. We handed out monopoly money with his face on it and let entrants to the chambers get a good look at a banner that says, “Welcome to Trenton, home of Governor Once Percent.” It was a great event, and it’s just the start of a statewide campaign that will hopefully steel our legislator’s spines and give Christie a run for his money.
At NJ Working Families we help coordinate the 85 member Better Choices for New Jersey campaign, which pushes for common sense revenue solutions that ask the wealthy and corporations to pay their fair share so that the state can undo the damage done by Christie’s cuts and start making the investments in education, transit, and public safety we need to get this state back on track and catch up with the rest of the country.
If you want to learn more about how you can get involved, send me a message, check out the Better Choices website or see the NJWFA page on Facebook.