In his column today, the Chicago Tribune's Eric Zorn examines Republican Gov. Chris Christie's performance in New Jersey, seeking clues as to how GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady may govern in Illinois should he be elected next week. Brady and Christie, of course, both have wheeled out a mish-mash of spending cuts, tax cuts, and other conservative nostrums as solutions to their respective states' budget crises.
Zorn finds that for all his bombast, Christie hasn't made much of a dent in the Garden State's $11 billion deficit, despite cutting spending by 4.2 percent in the state's most recent budget. Those cuts came primarily from education, state aid to local governments, and the end of a homeowner's tax rebate program targeted to seniors and lower- and middle-income households. On taxes, Christie has pushed through a property tax cap that will likely cause local governments to cut services down the road. And his biggest "accomplishment" on taxes has been lowering them for the state's wealthiest earners. Here's Zorn:
Christie's main achievement so far in this area has been to allow an
income-tax surcharge on those earning more than $400,000 to expire, and
to veto legislation that would have kept that surcharge only on those
who earn more than $1 million a year.
While Christie's style -- blasting unions and talking "tea party tough" -- has raised his national profile, the substance of his policies aren't solving New Jersey's fiscal challenges. In this, Christie and Brady are clearly birds of a feather. For more on their connections, be sure to also check out our piece about infrastructure from yesterday and Zorn's round-up of links about the New Jersey governor.