Gov calls legislators back from beach for special session

In this photograph provided by the governor's office, Gov. Christie signs the 2013 Budget in his office on Friday. (TIM LARSEN / Governor's Office)

Full story's in Sunday's paper, with Christie interview, here

Gov. Christie has called legislators back to Trenton on Monday -- after some have already left for vacation down the Shore -- to deal with his tax cut proposal.

Christie, who crossed out spending in the Democrats' budget yesterday before signing it, sent the announcement about the special session at 11 a.m. today, giving legislators the constitutionally-mandated 48 hours -- and not a minute more -- before they need to be back in Trenton. He will address both the Assembly and Senate and then ask legislators to debate his tax cut bill.

Legislators, however, aren't mandated to vote on anything. "While the last thing anyone wants in the middle of a heat wave is hot air coming from Trenton, we will be there," said Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D., Gloucester), in a statement.

Christie wants to cut income taxes. Democrats had a plan for cutting income taxes based on the amount of property taxes that homeowners pay, but they pulled back from it after a succession of bad news about New Jersey's economy came out this spring. Dems said the state simply didn't have the money to guarantee an immediate tax cut. 

Christie wrote this to legislative leaders this morning about the budget that they sent him last week: “That budget, which contained billions of dollars in spending, failed to address the single issue that strikes at the heart of our shared interests, and our continued prosperity. Lowering the tax burden imposed on every New Jersey resident is a matter of unique and critical public interest that demands our immediate and full attention.”

Assemblyman Troy Singleton (D., Burlington) noted that on Friday, Christie vetoed $330 million in energy tax receipts that would have been sent back to municipalities for property tax relief and $50 million that would have been used to increase the earned income tax credit for the poor.

"The governor chose to veto those tax cuts because they weren't his tax cuts,” Singleton said. “That reeks more of politics than policy.”

The Democrats who I talked to today said they would show up on Monday, but they also fully expected Christie to lash out with personal attacks peppered with mild curses, which has become his political hallmark.

“I would caution parents to keep their children away from the TV sets in the hours from 11 to noon because I suspect it will be rated ‘R’ for invective and incitement to violence,” said Sen. Barbara Buono (D., Middlesex). “He almost becomes pathological when he doesn’t get what he wants. That’s what you’re seeing here.”

Buono added: “It’s all motivated by his insatiable desire to be on the national ticket at the expense of the people of New Jersey."