Big job growth in NJ, Christie says, so cut taxes now

A guest photographs Gov. Christie with her cellphone at his town hall in Haddonfield on Tuesday. (TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer )

Gov. Christie released remarkably positive job growth numbers at a morning press conference, and in doing so he got ahead of what promises to be a day of political squabbling over his proposed tax cut.

The state added more than 17,000 jobs in May, according to federal figures that Christie released today, accounting for a quarter of all job growth nationwide for the month. It is the single biggest month-to-month job gain in seven years.

The report also said that the unemployment in New Jersey ticked up from 9.1 percent to 9.2 percent, which the administration attributed to more people looking for work.

On its face, though, the figure about job growth buoys the governor's repeated claims of a "Jersey comeback" and his argument that now is the time for a phased-in income tax cut.

But some Democrats, particularly those in the Assembly, have balked over giving tax cuts right now because expected revenue is significantly lower than expectations. Christie would have to borrow for transportation projects in order to pay for the tax cut.

Christie dismissed the Democrats, who are now meeting behind closed-doors to discuss Christie's proposed cut and budget, due June 30. 

"All of the poor-mouthing that's going on down the hall once shown to be nothing but pure partisian politics," Christie said.

Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D., Middlesex), chairman of the state Democrats, responded to Christie's announcement by noting that the state continues to have a higher unemployment rate than the national average and other states in the region. 

Referring to Christie's proposed tax cut, Wisniewski said: "His policies have one goal and one goal only: To put him in position to run for higher office."